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comparing sr80 to pfe, atrio, turbines

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hello, I've been reading this forum for about a month and decided to register.

I am looking to upgrade from ex51 (I know) to something in the 100-150 usd range.
Just starting in this audiophile hobby, I listen to a lot of nightwish right now(symphonic metal, soprano female vocals), somewhat of a basshead, but my pref changing to less bass. I find my ears are sensitive to bright earphones, so I don't want anything too bright.

I listened to my friend's sr80s with my fuze, so I am using it as a reference.
I am drawn to the pfe's but if they have less bass quantity than sr80s I may not like them.
So how do the bass, mid, highs of the pfe's compare to sr80s?
Can the pfe's be boosted to similar bass quantity as atrios with eq tweaking on fuze, using black filters, w/o an amp? I don't want to buy an amp now, maybe get an fiio e5 down the road
Also, are the pfe's and atrios less loud at the same volume than the sr80's? I needed to listen 90% volume on my fuze with the sr80s
If the pfe's don't suit me, would the turbines be better than the atrio's? I think I read tstarn say the turbines have more clear mids and highs with nearly the same bass impact. Finally, how do the atrio vs turbine cable build quality, thickness, microphonics compare with each other. I am deathly afraid that the cables will break at the junction with the 'phone housing.

I realise I have written a significantly long post. Just reply however much you want. Any help is appreciated. I especially hope tstarn reads this because I recall him using atrios, turbines, and a fuze.
post #2 of 13
i have not heard the pfe -- i am sure they are worth every penny of the 150$ they cost. so too are the atrio and the monster.

one thing about boosting with eq: it distorts music. it can be seen in measurements from any dap when excessively or even sometimes gingerly boosting bass. if you want bass quantity and quality, the atrio and monster are it really for that budget.

most iems should allow you to listen to music at a lower volume. some players gel with certain iems and with others not so much, but on the whole, iems are efficient and need less volume.

iems are also hard to drive for sound stage, bass control and distortion but you have a fuze which is a very good sounding player even with iems. you should enjoy. i have heard one person say that the fuze was not good with the atrio -- i have not heard them together (i have only heard clip and atrio) so i cannot comment but i found them very good together as the bass was well defined.

any of the three will be good, but from my understanding, the pfe might not have enough bass for you.

between the monster and the atrio: the cable is not even a contest: atrio has an amazing cable -- soft and pliable and strong with decent strain relief and a great right-angle connector. the monster uses a cable more akin to the denon c700 which is microphonic with poor strain reliefs but strong anyway.
post #3 of 13
What he said, and I have owned them all (still have the PFEs and the Turbines). But only small disagreement is I use the Turbines all the time out walking and I don't get any microphonics. I do hear footsteps a little louder (compared to Westone 3s, not PFEs), but that isn't the same as microphonics, I don't think (it has another name).

Oh, I also own the SR-80s. Almost forgot. My 80s are 8 years old, and I have them tape modded for added bass (I use the stock pads, but sometimes I go with modded hole-in-the-middle comfies too). As far as SQ matching the 80s, none of the dynamics have a similar sound to the Grados, only the PFEs. And while EQing isn't always the best route, I find that if I boost the bass on my Touch and use the black filters on the PFEs, the bass is clear, clean and awesome. It will distort on some tracks, like hip-hop, etc., so I have to turn it off.

Anyway, if you liked the 80s, then the PFEs are more of a match.

And if you just add a cheap FiiO E5 and turn on the bass boost, you'll have more than enough. I love the SR80s, and use them at home all the time. But you will have trouble driving them with the Fuze, as my Clip has problems with both the 80s and the PFEs. Others report they get plenty of volume, but not me. I just use an amp with the PFEs with pretty much all my DAPs but the Touch.
post #4 of 13
I think you should just get the PFE's and if you don't like them send them back. They have a 14 day money back guarantee so what do you have to lose? I would imagine the PFE's have less resistance than the SR80's so they should be easier to drive. Try the PFE's with both filters, probably default comply tips will have the sound more to your liking. If you dislike them, send em back and try the Turbines or Atrio instead.
post #5 of 13
thanks tsarn. what i meant by microphonics is this: if not looped over the ear, they bounce and have tremendous touch noise and energy. looped over the ear, the turbines are not so bad but the stiff cable makes them fall off my ear often.

they are not bad cables, but combined with the poor stress relief and microphonics that is worse than the atrio, i am underwhelmed. soundwise, i am overwhelmed

better than buying and not liking (any of the three) if you can find someone on headfi (we are generally a magnanimous lot) who has one or two of the three, you will save loads on shipping. if you can try before you buy: otherwise, hope for the best and if you cannot convince yourself that you paid the money well, then argue with yourself that you made the right decision till placebo sets in!

chances are: one of these three will be your sweet lullaby
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
hey thanks for all the feedback guys

with the phonak money back guarantee, don't you still have to pay to ship them back? I'm sure its not too much but it isn't a free trial if that is the case.

I am leaning towards phonaks, then turbines, and then atrios

the two people who owned both seemed to prefer the turbine's sq overall, that plus their lower impedance justify me prioritizing the turbines over the atrios

I read ethan691's posts and I feel I may end up like him, really liking the phonak's mid/highs, but always bothered by the bass

if i get the phonak+e5 bassboost, will it sound much better than unamped turbines or only slightly better

the phonak save10 coupon recently expired, are there no more coupons?
post #7 of 13
I really don't know if they pay return fees for the 14-day thing, but doubtful. The PFEs do not lack bass, they are just a much different phone than a dynamic phone. It really is a matter of taste, unless you are lucky enough to own both types (or get one for free, as most Head-Fiers who own them have done in return for an honest review sent to Monster). If I had to choose, I would forgo the Turbines and keep the PFEs, it's a no brainer to me. But heck, I can't speak for you. If you get the Turbines, or even the M5s for that matter, you will not be unhappy either. At some point, you just have to decide for yourself. Oh, as for the PFEs with black filters being the same as the Turbines, no they aren't. Two different types of sound, both good in their own way. It's just not as simple as one being better than the other.
post #8 of 13
My Turbine review is finally finished, sorry it is offsite: too much work to get it up here.
Turbine in Review
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the review shigzeo, though now I am even more torn between phonaks and turbines
lol, so many good choices, I'll think about it for a few weeks
post #10 of 13
it is best if you can think about it and get perspective: impulse buys are rarely good unless you are good at convincing yourself afterward that you needed the item! haha
post #11 of 13
Alright, need to weigh in with the usual suspects here...

I have found the Turbines to be the closest comparison to Grados out of all the IEMs I own and have tried. They capture the distortion of electric guitars incredibly well (bested only by Grados), but they also reproduce acoustic string, woodwind, and brass instruments in a very similar context as the RS1 or GS1000.

The soundstage is smaller on the Turbines, but the timbre of violins, cellos, guitars, clarinets, trumpets, and saxophones was a revelation to me when I first used the Turbines and remains one of the reasons why I recommend them so highly. And the bass is great while not overpowering the mids and treble.

Lots of choices, all are good and you won't go wrong with any of your options. But if I were to recommend an IEM to a Grado fan, it would be the Turbine.
post #12 of 13
You know, you may be right after some comparison listening I just did with the SR80s. Of course, the 80s are not on the same level as the Grados you own. But also, right now I am listening to some Tuck Andress acoustic guitar with the PFEs and the T4, and really, the Turbines can't compete with the crystal clear, clean detailed sound (including the bass strings, sounding like the man is playing right next to me). Just not close. I listened to both using the exact same setup. And I do truly like the Turbines, without an amp. Just repeating what my ears are telling me to say.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
do the pfe's have as fast and clear mid/highs as the sr80s? how much detail in that range am I giving up if I go with turbines?
Also, how much volume boost do the fiio e5's give? on abi review sagmuller said the e3's only provide 8db vol boost, which he said was perceptible, but not really that big of a difference.

say I want the amp to sound to me as an increase from 25% volume to 50% volume (I'm assuming all volume indicators operate with the same ratios of perceived loudness)
will the e5s deliver?
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