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Review: Three Flagship Custom IEM - Westone ES3X vs Jerry Harvey JH13Pro vs Ultimate Ears UE11Pro - Page 13

post #181 of 343
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by soozieq View Post
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.
Towards the 400 hour mark I'll also try to listen to many more phones with it, and find an AMP3 thread to report my findings in. I was very pleased with the AMP3 and HD25-1, but other than that and the three custom IEM I haven't had time to try more phones. I did have an experience where I did a review on the iBasso D2 Boa at 300 hours and by 600 hours I had to report on more improvement in soundstage, air and ambience.
post #182 of 343
Hi HPA, just re-read your review and still find it great. Just a question though(sorry if this has been asked before), out from a iPhone 3GS, which amp would be recommended if I need a more impactful bass(probably means more defined lower frequencies right?) and a bigger soundstage? And, for this combination of the recommended amp plus iPhone 3GS, how far away is it from a iMod or iRiver combo? I will be using it for the JH13.

Thanks a bunch for your help and your effort to write up such a helpful review.
post #183 of 343
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by charpi View Post
Hi HPA, just re-read your review and still find it great. Just a question though(sorry if this has been asked before), out from a iPhone 3GS, which amp would be recommended if I need a more impactful bass(probably means more defined lower frequencies right?) and a bigger soundstage? And, for this combination of the recommended amp plus iPhone 3GS, how far away is it from a iMod or iRiver combo? I will be using it for the JH13.

Thanks a bunch for your help and your effort to write up such a helpful review.
The iPhone 3G/GS usually doesn't need to be amped, as the headphone out is good enough for me.

If I was trying to improve on the sound and wanted more power and punchy bass with good soundstage, I would hook my P-51 Mustang up to the line out. At CanJam I very slightly liked the Pico Slim a little more (smoother, less aggressive, warmer than normal Pico). Other nice choices for what you want are Predator, D10 (OPA2350/AD8616), 3MOVE, Pico or XM5 (with AD8065/BUF634). The iPhone 3G/GS line out is fairly close to the iMod, but so are other iPods. The iMod just has a little more transparency/depth and micro-dynamics. I haven't used my iRiver line out in almost a year.

Like I said, I usually don't find myself needing an amp with the iPhone 3G/GS.
post #184 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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
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.
I put 14 more days of burn-in into the AMP3 and now have over 610 hours on the AMP3 (the 275 plus another 336 or so). I have NOT listened to the AMP3 since the last time I reported on it here. I have to admit that when I plugged in the ES3X tonight to listen for the first time in 2 weeks, I was not looking forward to it and was expecting the same forward bright sound that I've come to expect from it. Well, the AMP3 DAP/Amp sound signature changed as much in 600 hours of burn-in as my RSA Predator, which I also didn't like out of the box and barely at 300 hours. Both amps have set a record for longest burn-in (besides my Woo WA6 and ALO Amphora with Vcaps and Blackgates).

This does NOT sound like the same DAP/amp I heard two weeks ago. It is now useable with all three IEM in terms of sound signature, and the sound quality is probably closer to that of the Meier Headsix now instead of worse than the Nuforce Icon Mobile. I think I will pull that amp out later to compare the two. Before, with only 275 hours or less, the UE11Pro were the only ones out of the three that were useable with the AMP3 because of the frequency response, and even then it was not very smooth or refined sounding. But that has now changed. When HiFlight recommended 600 hours he wasn't kidding.

Other than the hiss with ES3X, which is still far too much (but much better with JH13Pro and UE11Pro), the AMP3 sounds very nice with ES3X now! Gone is the sibilance with Eva Cassidy, Kate Ceberano, and Diana Krall. The too forward nature is also improved and it sounds more open and transparent. This is a huge change, nothing subtle about it. If not for the hiss with the ES3X I could live with this sound. A Westone volume attenuator helps cut the low volume hiss by reducing the sensitivity, but with IEM a very detailed IEM like this I somehow feel like I am missing a little something when I use it.

Switching to the UE11Pro proves that the AMP3 is still a good choice for those IEM - with better tighter bass control without excess or lack, non-recessed mids, and no more sibilance although there is a nice shimmery sparkle to the treble which is not too bright. The UE11Pro have much less hiss with the AMP3, and a volume attenuator is not mandatory to kill the amount that gets through. Out of the three IEM I still feel the UE11Pro are the best ones to use with the AMP3.

The JH13Pro sound better than before as well, with hiss that like the UE11Pro is still well below that of the ES3X. The only odd thing is that the AMP3 brings the JH13Pro bass impact down to the level of the ES3X now, with a little more sparkle in the highs vs the ES3X. I still would not say it is too bright anymore.

So there you have it - two weeks ago I was ready to sell the AMP3 if it didn't improve, and today I don't think I will do that now. It's now a viable option for listening to any of the three flagship custom IEM (although you may need a volume attenuator for hiss). Plus it looks very rugged and and could make a decent "toss about" MP3 player and amp. The AMP3 also does very well with portable over the ear headphones like SR-60, HD-25-1 and Nuforce UF-30.
post #185 of 343
Wow, great review and thread.

I'd like to ask what your observations were in relation to the level of isolation offered by these three IEMS? Particularly JH-13 and ES3X?

Having never owned a custom, how does the isolation level of customs compare to universal IEMs, particularly foam tips?

I've never had much luck with getting comfortable universal IEMs due to small ear canals, and I am beginning to think customs is the only way to go in order to get a comfortable IEM experience without losing seals every 15 minutes.
post #186 of 343
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by slattikarma View Post
Wow, great review and thread.

I'd like to ask what your observations were in relation to the level of isolation offered by these three IEMS? Particularly JH-13 and ES3X?

Having never owned a custom, how does the isolation level of customs compare to universal IEMs, particularly foam tips?

I've never had much luck with getting comfortable universal IEMs due to small ear canals, and I am beginning to think customs is the only way to go in order to get a comfortable IEM experience without losing seals every 15 minutes.
In general I find the customs to isolate more than universals. Depending on the fit not everyone will experience the same amount of isolation.

Out of the 3 flagship IEM, my ES3X seem to isolate the most (maybe 1-2 dB more than the other customs), then my UE11Pro, and then the JH13Pro very close behind the UE11Pro (maybe 1-2 db less isolation). I wonder if the less deep tips of the JH13Pro make up some of that difference, or if the heat sensitive tips on the ES3X might be causing the extra bit of isolation with those. My Livewires isolate about as much as my UE11Pro (my Freq Show are loose and isolate less than some universals).

So, all of the above customs isolate more than most universal IEM for me, except my W3 had pretty good isolation with UM56 custom tips. However with foam Complys tips the W3 didn't isolate as well, and my Senn IE8 don't isolate as well as almost any other IEM that I have had. The only universal IEM I can recall isolating as much as a custom (excluding W3 with custom tips) was my Ety ER6i with Shure black foam tips stuffed onto them. My SE530 were almost as quiet with the black foam tips, but I never tried the black foam tips on the W3.

For me the customs are not just about the isolation, but the added comfort and sound quality.
post #187 of 343
I've been away from head-fi for several days. Nice to know that this new inexpensive player turned out to work so well. I hope Hisoundaudio can work out the issue with hiss.
post #188 of 343
Hi HPA,

Nice mini review on the amp3 there. Between the amp3 and iphone3g/s hp out how do they compare?

I'm using JH13's out of my iphone 3g right now.

Wondering if the amp3 is a worthy dedicated music player upgrade or not.

Thanks
post #189 of 343
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hpz View Post
Hi HPA,

Nice mini review on the amp3 there. Between the amp3 and iphone3g/s hp out how do they compare?

I'm using JH13's out of my iphone 3g right now.

Wondering if the amp3 is a worthy dedicated music player upgrade or not.

Thanks
The iPhone 3G/GS sounds noticeably better. Like I said, the AMP3 is on par with other $150 amps, but I would say the iPhone 3G/GS sounds as good as many $250-300 amps. If you had UE11Pro, I would say get the AMP3 which sounds more balanced than out of the iPhone, but otherwise no.
post #190 of 343
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
The iPhone 3G/GS sounds noticeably better. Like I said, the AMP3 is on par with other $150 amps, but I would say the iPhone 3G/GS sounds as good as many $250-300 amps. If you had UE11Pro, I would say get the AMP3 which sounds more balanced than out of the iPhone, but otherwise no.
That is almost precisely what I've been suspecting your final opinion would be of the Amp3. I will wait for another DAP to come along that is affordable (for my budget, anyways) and has excellent synergy with the UM3X.
post #191 of 343
Thread Starter 
I guess one thing I failed to consider is that while the AMP3 sounds like other $150 amps, you basically get a free MP3/WAV music player with DAC and FM Radio inside.
post #192 of 343

How does Cowon S9 Compare to the AMP3?

I have the HD800, the JH13 will be coming in a week or 2 I have Meier Audio Symphony 2 and the 3MOVE, as well as the wire that connects the base of the Ipd to the 3MOVE. Initially was going to buy the IPod Classic 160 and use it with the 3MOVE, but since then I discovered that the Cowon S9 easily loads and deletes files like an external Hard drive as well as having no bass roll off.

Now I read about the AMP3 being reviewed but I see no comparison to the Cowon S9.

Has that been done in this thread? I only read the first review and the ending where the AMP3n is being discussed after 610 hours of burning in.

Has anyone compared the Cowon S9 to the AMP3 anywhere else on another thread?
post #193 of 343
Thread Starter 
I know I haven't tried any Cowan S9, or D2 or anything else before. I like iPods because I can send music over by playlists from iTunes.
post #194 of 343
I like Cowons because I don't have to care about crippled crap like iTunes.
post #195 of 343
haha! when i had the d2, meizu, and a few irivers, i used itunes since i can find no faster way to drag and drop to those players any music i want. but, other than those squabbles, dfkt, you are the man!
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