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Review: Three Flagship Custom IEM - Westone ES3X vs Jerry Harvey JH13Pro vs Ultimate Ears UE11Pro - Page 12

post #166 of 343
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifidk View Post
Wow, I was actually considering AMP3 but maybe I should hold off and keep my D10 for now.
Yeah, just be patient and let me finish the burn-in and report back. This is just part 1 of the AMP3 report. HiFlight assured me the treble will tame with hours, and I am hearing it start to do that.
post #167 of 343
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
Yeah, just be patient and let me finish the burn-in and report back. This is just part 1 of the AMP3 report. HiFlight assured me the treble will tame with hours, and I am hearing it start to do that.
I will do that, plus they are going to release AMP3 PRO 2 and STUDIO pretty soon, so there are other options as well. Oh well, I don't even have my JH13 yet
post #168 of 343
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
Yeah, just be patient and let me finish the burn-in and report back. This is just part 1 of the AMP3 report. HiFlight assured me the treble will tame with hours, and I am hearing it start to do that.
Hey, what happened, last I remember, this was your response

With over 400 hours on my AMP3 the sound is so much more balanced now and the brightness has subsided. What amazes me is how the bass is now powerful yet doesn't seem exaggerated, and the details I am hearing are amazing and the AMP3 can bring new life to headphones I had left for dead!

I will be interested to hear how it matches with your customs.
post #169 of 343
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post
Hey, what happened, last I remember, this was your response

With over 400 hours on my AMP3 the sound is so much more balanced now and the brightness has subsided. What amazes me is how the bass is now powerful yet doesn't seem exaggerated, and the details I am hearing are amazing and the AMP3 can bring new life to headphones I had left for dead!

I will be interested to hear how it matches with your customs.
Well, I got the last b-stock unit for $120 because so many people were asking me to give my opinions on it. It is definitely a hisser with ES3X, but not too bad with the others. I'll try it with the IE8 later (dig them out of my car). You and HiFlight both say the sound balances out with many hours, but how many did it take yours to get there? HiFlight said he has over 600 on his AMP3, but didn't say at what point the sound became more tamed.
post #170 of 343
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
Well, I got the last b-stock unit for $120 because so many people were asking me to give my opinions on it. It is definitely a hisser with ES3X, but not too bad with the others. I'll try it with the IE8 later (dig them out of my car). You and HiFlight both say the sound balances out with many hours, but how many did it take yours to get there? HiFlight said he has over 600 on his AMP3, but didn't say at what point the sound became more tamed.
I really haven't been keeping track after say 150 hours, but estimate at least 400 hours on my AMP3 and now it does sound balanced. If you have an impedance adapter (I know, that extends the profile of the AMP3), that definitely helps as I do have a hiss problem without the adapter with my Denon C710. I must say with the adapter the sound is head and shoulders better than my other sources! The new AMP3 Pro2 is supposed to have fixed that issues as well as the new Studio I.

It does seem bright in the first 100 hours and there is a point where the bass regresses for a while. Even at 150 hours it did still seem a little bright with some of my IEMs.

How many hours do you have on yours, and what are your thoughts with the JH-13 and UE11 sourced by the AMP3?
post #171 of 343
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
Well, I got the last b-stock unit for $120 because so many people were asking me to give my opinions on it. It is definitely a hisser with ES3X, but not too bad with the others. I'll try it with the IE8 later (dig them out of my car). You and HiFlight both say the sound balances out with many hours, but how many did it take yours to get there? HiFlight said he has over 600 on his AMP3, but didn't say at what point the sound became more tamed.
I believe I saw a shift around 250 hours or so. It could have been slightly less since each day seems to blend together, however I did notice the shift at that point.

Overall, the 400 mark seems to be the general consensus.

Thanks Larry..
Craig
post #172 of 343
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SACD-Man View Post
I believe I saw a shift around 250 hours or so. It could have been slightly less since each day seems to blend together, however I did notice the shift at that point.

Overall, the 400 mark seems to be the general consensus.

Thanks Larry..
Craig
Great - I'll report back later as I said I would, when burn-in is complete.
post #173 of 343
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
Great - I'll report back later as I said I would, when burn-in is complete.
According to what I've been reading in the Amp3 thread it's a good idea for you to use an impedance adapter. Supposedly, it diminishes the hiss and even adds to the overall SQ. If what they're saying about this new dap is really true, then this may be a contender for the next biggest bang for the buck in the entire hi-fi audio industry... I mean, a $159 dap that sounds that amazing with a $49 KSC35, and is "head and shoulders" better than other dap's??? They're also reporting that this player has better synergy with less expensive headphones than the more expensive IEMs. I guess it's a synergy thing. They even come with stock buds, with which reportedly have incredible synergy.

...My head is spinning with disbelief. I pray to God that their claims are all true. I'm all for spending less, for more!

Initially, my plan was to go for a Zero DAC/amp + UM3X. Now, I might be going for the Amp3, be satisfied with the stock buds for a while, then save up money for a JH13. HPA, after your burn-in is complete, could you please compare the SQ of the stock buds and some cheaper cans with your more expensive cans? (Through the Amp3 of course) Thank you...
post #174 of 343
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigon_ridge View Post
According to what I've been reading in the Amp3 thread it's a good idea for you to use an impedance adapter. Supposedly, it diminishes the hiss and even adds to the overall SQ. If what they're saying about this new dap is really true, then this may be a contender for the next biggest bang for the buck in the entire hi-fi audio industry... I mean, a $159 dap that sounds that amazing with a $49 KSC35, and is "head and shoulders" better than other dap's??? They're also reporting that this player has better synergy with less expensive headphones than the more expensive IEMs. I guess it's a synergy thing. They even come with stock buds, with which reportedly have incredible synergy.

...My head is spinning with disbelief. I pray to God that their claims are all true. I'm all for spending less, for more!

Initially, my plan was to go for a Zero DAC/amp + UM3X. Now, I might be going for the Amp3, be satisfied with the stock buds for a while, then save up money for a JH13. HPA, after your burn-in is complete, could you please compare the SQ of the stock buds and some cheaper cans with your more expensive cans? (Through the Amp3 of course) Thank you...
I have a little over 250 hours on the AMP3 now, so I'll try to listen again tonight or tomorrow. I have purposefully stayed away from it during burn-in so I didn't get used to small changes in sound, so we'll see if it strikes me in as far as how much it's changed.
post #175 of 343
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I have another amp/IEM synergy to report on - the AMP3 DAP/Amp from Whiplash Audio. I post this as a warning to others who may try these customs with the AMP3 without burn-in, as it arrived sounding brighter than my 4G Nano.

However, I have about 75 hours of burn-in on the AMP3 so far and it's treble brightness is taming with time. It does seem fairly spacious and detailed and powerful, so we'll see. I plan to run it another 200-300 hours or more in total. I used 320K MP3 with it on the internal 4GB memory and haven't tried it as an amp only yet, or with WAV files which I don't have (most of my music is ALAC with a duplicate as 320K MP3).

So far - The UE11Pro have the bass completely tamed by the AMP3 but it's still strong, and the mids seem full enough, but there is an increase in treble sparkle with the UE11Pro as with most phones on the AMP3. Anyone who thinks the UE11Pro bass is overpowering would likely enjoy them more with the AMP3 than with what they were using when they complained about the bass. The extra sparkle occasionally comes out as sibilance, but HiFlight assures me the treble will mellow on the AMP3 with a few hundred hours of burn-in. The low volume hiss is mild and only slightly more than with the JH13Pro, but it's not intrusive and a much lower level than with the ES3X.

The JH13Pro don't have quite as much bass with the AMP3 as the UE11Pro, but bass is not lacking at all. They still get the extra sparkle and sometimes sibilance from the AMP3 as well, depending on the program material like with the UE11Pro.

The Westone ES3X and AMP3 didn't make as good of a pairing as the other two customs. The sound was more forward and brighter with the AMP3 than usual, and it wasn't just an added sparkle but rather too much mid and treble energy. This reminds me of the sound of the iBasso D10 with the AD8599 opamp installed which I normally don't like with anything except with my Senn IE8 and HD600. I also found the hiss with AMP3 and the other customs to be much louder with the ES3X plugged in, and maybe even worse than with the ALO Amphora.

I will report back on the AMP3 with these customs in about 10 days, or as soon as I think the burn-in is completed. I will have ripped a CD as WAV by then to try the higher bit rate as well.
I have 275 hours on the AMP3 now and want to report back, although my findings are compelling me to let it burn-in longer. It certainly has improved a little with burn-in, but not by a whole lot. Unfortunately I don't hear an improvement with using a few different 1411 kbps lossless WAV files vs 320 kbps MP3, so it's not the compressed music causing the brightness. My complaint is not with the detail or space/ambience, but with the tonal balance.

The AMP3 as an MP3 player is still a bit bright with the JH13Pro. It's more useable with them now but still not my first choice. It is also still too forward and bright with the ES3X, but not quite as bad as before. With the AMP3 I would prefer the JH13Pro over the ES3X, but the UE11Pro still come out on top with this player. Unlike with some amps or players, with the UE11Pro out of the AMP3 there is no overdone bass or recessed mids. The slightly splashy treble that I heard at 75 hours with the UE11Pro is almost gone now. Despite taming the bass on the UE11Pro, the AMP3 is not bass-lite with JH13Pro or ES3X.

But, I still like my 5.5G iPod video and 4G Nano headphone out a little better than the AMP3. The AMP3 is just a little too brash and unrefined sounding so far with these very revealing IEM (worst with ES3X, best with UE11Pro). The AMP3 sounds a little better as an amp-only using the line-in feature with a nice piccolino cable iMod LOD, but it still suffers from this issue. It's similar in some ways to my 4G Nano headphone out, but still a tad brighter and slightly more forward than the Nano. (and I posted in my main review that the Nano is sometimes bright).

The funny thing is, the AMP3 sounds great with my Sennheiser HD25-1 and I was quite surprised when I popped out my custom IEM and grabbed them to try out. I haven't had time to try other full sizer phones with the AMP3, but that belongs in another post elsewhere.

I will report back in 5-6 days at 400 hours of burn-in. So far I still don't think the ES3X and AMP3 are a good match, but if you have the UE11Pro and think they sometimes have too much bass or too little mids, then the AMP3 might be just what you are looking for. For those of you with the JH13Pro, I'd prefer my 4G Nano or 5.5 iPod video (and obviously my iPhone 3GS which is the best), but the AMP3 is useable.
post #176 of 343
^^ Larry, Many thanks for your impresions on the AMP3; it had caught my eye, but your comments of synergy with the ES3X makes it now 100% a no-no for me. The iPod Classic (and 4G Nano) deliver just the right amount of treble I want with the ES3X, and any more of it - even the slightest - would ruin my listening experience. So, thanks again.
post #177 of 343
Thanks for the write-up! cn11 reported the same thing about the player's relative "coldness," as he put it. Not sure how much burn-in time he gave it, though. Hopefully that will change in a few days.
post #178 of 343
Interesting findings Larry. I have the same issue with the UM3X, but the main problem is hiss. Listening to the Amp3 with the Grados or the Ksc 35s even, it sounds like a different player in the sense that any coldness/harshness totally melts away. But with my IEMs (notably the Westones), it's not anywhere near as listenable, though I would not say it's harsh or bright, more just not as good as the UM3X can sound. In fact, I had stayed away from the UM3X with the Am3, and mainly use it at home with the Grados because it is the best-sounding combo I have here. For on the go, I find that the Fuze HP out is fine with the Um3X (my Fuze is loaded with 8GB of flac files), but the best synergy is between the UM3X and the Zune80, much to my surprise. The Zune seems to be perfectly in tune with the Westones. There is no EQ needed with the Westones/Zune, which is great because the Zune has none.

Hoping that the hiss will disappear with the impending Amp3 firmware upgrade. I do use an impedance adapter with the Amp3/UM3X, which lessens the hiss, but it also flattens out the dynamics of that IEM, which makes it somewhat dull.

Interesting finding with the HD25-1, as it jibes with my experience and the Grado SR-80s. The Amp3 obviously plays very well with only specific phones, not all. And that was mentioned early when it came out. Look forward to hearing more about your experience as the Amp3 burns in more, and you try it with other phones in your massive collection.
post #179 of 343
Larry-
Interesting impressions of the amp3 with 275 hours of burn in. Seems as though I found the sound signature very similar to you in tonality. I heard the same coldness whether I used the provided buds, the FX500's, or the IE8's. Although I'd have to say that the IE8's were a tad better matched for it than the other two. I'll be interested to hear your further impressions around 400 hours to see if the coldness lessens at all for you, since it hadn't done so for me after the 150 hours of burn in that Craig recommended.
post #180 of 343
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn11 View Post
Larry-
Interesting impressions of the amp3 with 275 hours of burn in. Seems as though I found the sound signature very similar to you in tonality. I heard the same coldness whether I used the provided buds, the FX500's, or the IE8's. Although I'd have to say that the IE8's were a tad better matched for it than the other two. I'll be interested to hear your further impressions around 400 hours to see if the coldness lessens at all for you, since it hadn't done so for me after the 150 hours of burn in that Craig recommended.
Hey Chris, you realise now that you're not the 'only' one to report coldness with the amp3, you're not special anymore??

If Larry finds the sound warms up somewhat with the tonality more in balance after 400 hours, then maybe the burn in time could be included in the packaging so that owners know not to give up after 150 hours?

It's a shame it's so picky about headphones though, especially for people who have their fave ones they like to use, would be a bummer to find out they don't go well with the amp3.
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