fair enough. i wasnt really expecting the "musical" part from a hd800 owner.
Well, let's try to get this thread rolling again, shall we? I bought the ADDIEM a couple of weeks ago, as I've wanted to try it for a while now, due to exceptional looking measurements at Innerfidelity and a very positive review + measurements at M.R.O. Boy, am I glad I tried it! These are simply one of the best sounding headphones I've ever heard, period - at any price. I don't have time for any extended impressions/review right now, but let's just say that these compare favorably to my HE-500 and Focal Spirit Classic out of my Fiio X5 DAP + Cayin C5 amp combo. In fact, I think that they sound very similar to HE-500 overall out of the aforementioned source and the only real difference is that HE-500 sounds somewhat more open due to being over the ear and open back obviously, ADDIEM easily beats my RE-400 in separation, clarity, speed and overall accuracy, and beats the ER4 in smoothness, soundstage depth, and transparency (due to the much more even frequency response than that of the ER4, more realistic sub bass, better dynamics, better sense of space and a more effortless sound). I also prefer the sound of ADDIEM to that of any other multi driver IEM that I've ever heard and I think that it is more coherent sounding and more technically accomplished than pretty much any other multi driver IEM that I've had experience with so far. Many will disagree with me regarding ADDIEMs technical merits, but there are facts that prove that ADDIEM is better than almost any other BA based IEM in at least some aspects. For example, it beats most BA-based and even most dynamic driver IEMs in treble extension - ADDIEM is flat up to 20 kHz, whereas most other IEMs roll off at least 2-3 kHz earlier. ADDIEM also possesses one of the smoothest and most neutral frequency responses, especially with some impedance added in (see the M.R.O review for more details). Most multi driver BA IEMs especially, have some rather large peask or dips at least somewhere in their frequency responses - just check out the Innerfidelity graphs for Westone W40 or Rock-It Sounds R50 for example - whereas ADDIEM has no such frequency response issues at all. Moreover, ADDIEM has a completely flat and perfectly extended bass, as is shown on the 30 Hz square wave response and frequency response, while far two many IEMs, especially dynamic driver based ones, either have roll off in the sub bass or have excessive bass emphasis. So all in all, I find that the ADDIEM can successfully compete with headphones costing several times its price in sound quality and is also one of the best multi driver IEM implementations out there...
Ok, so nobody is really interested in these on here it seems and that's a real shame. I know that both |Joker| and ClieOS don't rate these very high, placing them on the level of a decent $50 and ranking something like RE-0, RE-400 or Etymotic HF series/ER4 much higher in sound quality. Many others seem to think that these are only good for the price, but can't compete with many more expensive IEM.
Well, I was comparing ADDIEM directly to RE-400, ER4 and RE-0 last night and guess what - ADDIEM sounded more technically accomplished to my ears overall than both of the Hifimans and clearly fuller, richer and more fun than the ER4, while coming really close technically to the ER4 in most aspects, if not beating it in some. I did quite a few AB comparisons between these IEMs and there's no doubt about it in my mind - ADDIEM more than holds its own against the other three significantly more popular and higher rated IEMs, actually surpassing them all in some aspects.
ADDIEM is the most spacious sounding of the four - RE-0 and ER4 have significantly less depth to their sound, while RE-400 can compete with ADDIEM in depth, but lacks the instrument separation of the ADDIEM, thus ending up sounding more congested. ADDIEM has the full, deep, present bass response, similar to that of RE-400, with perhaps a little less weight than the latter, but more weight and fullness than what RE-0 and ER4 can muster.
In terms of bass quality, all four are superb, with the ER4 bass being the tightest, but the other three offering deeper extension. Subjectively I feel that RE-400 has the most bass presence, even though measurements seem to indicate that ADDIEM has more. I guess it's because RE-400 offers somewhat more of that dynamic driver decay in the low end. ADDIEM bass sound cleaner, but perhaps a little less natural, being a bit too clean maybe. Still, both the RE-400 and ADDIEM offer a full, more satisfying low end than RE-0 and ER4, both of which sound somewhat lacking in weight and overly dry in comparison.
The mids are hard for me to compare - all four do mids extremely well. I feel that ER4S is the most transparent, followed by RE-0, but both also seem somewhat too dry and unnatural sounding. RE-400 and ADDIEM are maybe a bit behind in transparency, but are not necessarily lacking in resolution. ADDIEM sounds clearer and better defined than RE-400 due to its better instrument separation and faster transients, but RE-400 sounds more forward and sweeter with perhaps a somewhat more natural timbre and more texture/micro detail.
The highs are the most extended on the ADDIEM and RE-0, according to the measurements. RE-0 and ER4S has the most treble presence and the most apparent treble resolution. ER4S is the treble quality champ IMO, having the most resolving, clearest highs of any IEM I've ever heard, even beating out my HE-500 in the treble. RE-0 seems very resolving in the highs, but I think that its mostly an illusion due to its treble having such a strong presence and also a somewhat metallic, aggressive character that grabs the listeners attention more. In reality, I think ADDIEM has a more resolving, cleaner treble than RE-0, as well as RE-400 but can't quite match the treble quality of the ER4S. ADDIEM has the most pleasant treble of the four in that it is perfectly smooth and even with zero harshness, yet also highly resolving and fully present, and extended. RE-400 has a smoother treble than RE-0, but lacks some presence up top and can't compete with ADDIEM and ER4 in clarity, speed and detail retrieval in the high frequencies.
In terms of power requirements and scaling, I feel that ADDIEM actually scales the most of the four IEMs. Better sources and amps really seem to open up this IEM, giving it significantly more dynamics and a more open, lively sound. I feel that while Etys are seemingly more detailed, the ADDIEM is actually more transparent, showing differences in character between amps and sources much better than the ER4 does. I also think that ADDIEM is more transparent than RE-0 and RE-400, also being able to show more differences between source and amps than the other two.
ADDIEM and RE-400 both cost officially cost $79 now if I am not mistaken, but the ADDIEM can be bought new for much less than that from ebay, while RE-400 can be bought for less, but usually only opened/used. This makes ADDIEM the better value IMO, as it offers similar, if not better overall sound quality. Compared to the ER4, ADDIEM is clearly a far better value and I think that it actually sounds sort of like a fuller, smoother ER4 with more bass extension and presence, deeper soundstage and more treble extension. ADDIEM may be somewhat less resolving than the ER4, but the differences are not night and day and ADDIEM is actually the more transparent IEM to my ears...
Thanks for the feedback man. Guess, I may need to stock on some tips for these then because I will be listening to them a lot! Gonna be getting a few replacements from Ebay... Oh and I also need one or two of those impedance adapters as well for more accurate frequency response. I may want to try 33 Ohm and 50 Ohm...
Regarding ADDIEMs detail retrieval, I think that they may actually be just as detailed as my ER4S. ADDIEMs just don't push details forward aggressively like the Etys do. I can't say I can hear more details with the Etys than the ADDIEM right now, but I do hear ADDIEMs as having much more depth to the sound and I feel that they are able to reproduce spacial cues in music more accurately than the Etys, giving a better idea about the environment where music was recorded. ADDIEM does seem to be more detailed than the RE-400, or at least the former is definitely clearer and more precise. Switching directly from ADDIEM to RE-400 makes the latter sound very congested and closed in in comparison. Switching from ADDIEM to ER4 makes the latter sound dry and screechy. I think ADDIEM is definitely the most balanced sounding of the three and may be the most balanced sounding IEM I've ever heard actually.
My only fear with the eBay purchase of these is the probability of buying a fake increases exponentially - these are the type of IEM you buy at Apple or you take your chances. And you can get the tips replaced within the first 12 months at the Apple store if you have the receipt - not so if you bought from Bernie's House Of Silicone on ebay.
I use the Sony Hybrids for this IEM. I could not get a proper fit with the round Apple tips. I don't ever recall losing one of the Sony tips.
Based on the online reviews, I bought a pair of ADDIEMs last weekend (from an authorized Apple dealer, just to be certain). My prior experience with headphones of all kinds goes back into the 70s where I started out with Sennheiser 414/424s, PRO-4AA and a pair of Koss ESP-9 which I still have. Somehow over the years I've also ended up with sets of A-T and Pioneer electrostats, plus various Sony phones such as the MDR-V100. I've always felt that the Koss had a flatter response, but liked listening to the A-T a little more because of their greater comfort and more attractive presentation of sound (I won't declare them accurate, but they seem free of objectionable colorations).
I began using IEMs primarily on the go, needing isolation and portability more than anything else. After some casting about, I ended up listening a lot to the Sony MDR-EX71 as recommended by Mr. Linkwitz; they seem very balanced (once you tame that HF peak) and I can enjoy them for hours as long as I take the time to fit them correctly at the beginning of the session. After listening to a number of IEMs, I really feel that there must be a lot of people who just don't get a good fit when they try a pair. Maybe the problem is physiological, maybe just unfamiliarity with the process of fitting IEMs. I do know that every IEM I've tried varies dramatically in sound quality with the fit achieved. I would not base a recommendation on anything less than multiple hours of listening, and trying all the options with respect to ear buds, flanges, etc. In fact, I'm about to embark on some added testing for some of my phones using new tips that I'm currently awaiting in the mail. We'll see. I should add that I've heard all the prior Apple earbuds, masochist that I am, and whether because they don't truly fit my ears or because of design flaws, I don't even bother listening to them any more. Even the cheapest Sonys blow them away - and I only have those because I need a pair of throwaway IEMs for exercising, etc.
Anyway, after hearing from a wide spectrum of reviewers and getting a very positive sense of the ADDIEM phone sound quality, I bought a pair to use on a weekend drive (of course, I did some preliminary testing at home to be sure I was getting a proper fit). Total listening time so far adds up to less than 10 hours, so I'm not ready to pronounce judgement yet. One thing I did find is that with the stock tips, even after they're fitted correctly it takes several minutes for the bulbs to settle in to my ear canals. Bass and noise isolation changed dramatically over a period of 2-3 minutes, and then settled down. This is somewhat unusual in my experience, more like what I've seen with foam tips than silicone. I listened to a variety of music from classical, jazz, to a few quality progressive and rock recordings. Initially my impression was that they were somewhat dull and lifeless, but then again I'm accustomed to IEMs which are acknowledged to be on the bright or peaky side of normal. After the fit settled down and I'd run about 3-4 albums through them, I began to realize that the lows went really low and the highs, while not aggressive, went much higher than I had thought. The overall impression was forming of a rather uncolored, neutral transducer. At the end of my trip (5 hrs each way) I decided that I liked them, provisionally. There was no fatigue, and I certainly couldn't hear anything that sounded like distortion, even with complex tracks having a lot of highs. The isolation was phenomenal; when I'd pull them out to visit a gas station or rest stop, the ambient noise was quite overpowering at first. I'm curious whether the flanged tips I have on order will change that impression. Before anyone asks, I've been pretty careful with my ears and loud noises; last time I checked, I still have significant response at 15K, which is not too bad for someone in their 60s. I was delighted when the CRT televisions started going away, because the horizontal scan noise would often drive me completely out of a room.
I still have a lot of listening to do with the Apples, but I'm looking forward to it. No, I haven't invested in a pair of $400 IEMs to compare, but frankly that's not going to happen. I've heard enough high-quality speakers and headphones over the years to get a sense of what accurate sound reproduction is, and while I will admit to being very surprised that the Apples were even considered contenders, I must say that I have not been disappointed. After a few more hours of listening I will try to check in and share any further findings.
Interesting. I was doubt the only person is me who enjoy apple earphones in head-fi. Clearly I am not alone. Actually I am not using addiem. I am listening EarPods right now :D I didn't try them before two days ago. They were sitting in my iPhone's box. Then my earsonics sm3 broken and I want to give a shot them while i am searching a new iem. I know their presentation is not balanced. Huge undetalied bass dominating hole spectrum. Grainy, slightly recessed mids. Sticky, roll off highs. A cavernous artificial sound stage. But.......I am keep listening. These are magically addicted phones because of their success in presenting emotion in music. Some how apple found some guys (may be some academic stuff, doctors or something) who knows this job very well I guess. So I am really tempted to try addiems also. I will share my impressions.
I bought addiem today from a local electronic store. They dropped the price 99Turkish Liras (40USD) for stock clearance. Apparently they aren't selling these too much. That may be expected. Because many iPhone users doesn't care about hi-fi and many audiophiles doesn't care apple products. So, these beauties stays where they are in the market. Here are my initial impressions.
Clearly stock silicones doesn't work correctly. Thanks for their grainy surface finish, they can't do proper isolation because of lack stickiness. And their size are not match my ear canal. Odd, beacuse my ear canals are very close to average sizes. So, I changed silicones one by one with my deep tip collection. Pfe silicones, sm3 double flanges, no name white and black silicones etc. I even try my custom molds (produced for pfe). So far, big size pfe silicones match almost perfect (I suspect solid core sony hybrids would be better which i don't have right now). My first reaction was ''damm, these are more than ok'' After first try I want to take some time for relax and wash my brain from daily stress. By the way, I put some pink, white noise loops for burning-in. I know, armatures doesn't burn over time. But cables? May be not, but i experienced several times, even ba earphones gets some improvements from burn. Anyway I put addiem back agin to my ears. Whoa....These are opened even more. More detailed, relaxed, more effortless even more ticker. What a full and detailed sound. Soundstage not so 3d but whay beyond decent 2d. More stereo than any other iems I used (which not much, but pfe, ck10 and sm3 and many other cheap earphones including v-moda vibe and so on). Bass is there, not so boomy, not so deep. But just enough for giving life to mids as it should be. Mids are clear, not laid back, not over fronted. Vocals stands their places middle of the instruments. That place is some where inside my forehead. And instruments escalating my left and right side. Bass some how inside me, almost, it comes from my stomach to my neck. I don't know how can I explain this. Nothing so spectacular by themselves actually. But they produce very musical experience together. And highs are also. You can't pin point them. But that cymbals comes one by one from deep abyss to life. Highs are remind me sm3's holographic sound stage (But overall sm3 is another beast in this category and I didn't ever experienced that magic with my desktop setups).
Conclusion: This earphone is clearly the best for buck item I ever seen. Even msrp price is well beyond ok. But 40 buck... I am hardly resisting to not go to that shop tomorrow and clear all stocks. Build quality and cable is mediocre. Cable being microphonic too. But who cares. Two years official warranty is a must in my country and apple approves it (thanks for our nonsense import laws, sometimes they do somethings for customers).
By the way, these earphones are heavy tuned for i device like other apple products. If you have iPhone. iPad, iPod or even macbook, you guaranteed synergy. Otherwise it's on your luck. I try this with my old creative x-fi (gen1) dap and I clearly sense there isn't enough power for it. I suspect that because of their low impedance, high current structure. I must definitely try them with a decent portable amp.