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Review: Three Flagship Custom IEM - Westone ES3X vs Jerry Harvey JH13Pro vs Ultimate Ears UE11Pro - Page 16

post #226 of 343
Oh, also the live performance thing cracks me up.

People think because it is a live recording it is more "real."

The remote (live) recording guys try their hardest to make the stuff sound "as good or better than it does in a studio session." LOL
post #227 of 343
Wow, great review HPA!! I wonder why I came to this review of yours this late! Anyway, wonderful, wonderful review!!
post #228 of 343
Thread Starter 
Thanks, it was definitely the hardest one I've done.
post #229 of 343
Ok... I'm utterly speechless!!!
Based on this review, and your comments in one of the forums back in March about the ES3X's, I made the plunge and got my customs this morning from my Audiologist!

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!!!!

I never heard anything like this in my life! I appreciate the time and effor you put in your reviews, every word is correct!
I was a little nervous that they would lack bass, but you were right, they don't lack bass at all!! I had some Ultrasone HFI-780's before this and I love the bass on the ES3X's MUCH more!!

Thanks again!
post #230 of 343
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by theoaklandraider View Post
Ok... I'm utterly speechless!!!
Based on this review, and your comments in one of the forums back in March about the ES3X's, I made the plunge and got my customs this morning from my Audiologist!

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!!!!

I never heard anything like this in my life! I appreciate the time and effor you put in your reviews, every word is correct!
I was a little nervous that they would lack bass, but you were right, they don't lack bass at all!! I had some Ultrasone HFI-780's before this and I love the bass on the ES3X's MUCH more!!

Thanks again!
No problem.

I love the ES3X and if I lost my JH13Pro I could still be happy with just the ES3X. Like I said before, I think they are brilliant, crisp, transparent and vivid sounding, without giving up any of the bass. The ES3X bass control and definition tops the HFI-780 for sure.
post #231 of 343
Very impressive review Larry. It's amazing how much you have done for the community. I remember reading this review a few months ago when I joined and it was totally over my head. Going back and reading it again after having a little more point of reference, I could really appreciate the level of detail and subtlety at which you reviewed these custom IEMs.

I have a question if you don't mind. I did a few advanced searches within this thread and didn't see it come up so please forgive me if you addressed this already. I noticed in other threads that you mentioned the current D10 topkit brought about a vast improvement in your UE11 Pros. Does that improvement bring them closer to JH13 or ES3X overall? Also, I was surprised to read that these IEMs had good synergy with your Woo Audio WA6. I assumed that level of a desktop amp would be too powerful for sensitive IEMs - great to know. Lastly, how big of an improvement do you feel WA6 brings over current topkit D10 (only point of reference so far) using these customs?

I always assumed my next headphone upgrade after IE8 would be full-size cans, but your review really makes me think I would be happier with one of these. It seems like you can get excellent and comparable sound with a much cheaper amp compared to the gear your high end full-size cans require (like ur Stax or HD800s). ES3X and JH13 really intrigue me. It sounds like JH13 are the best regarded IEM overall, but your description of ES3X soundstage placing you in the middle of the stage being surrounded by music in a virtual space sounds pretty epic .

Thanks again for another awesome review and contribution and for seemingly always being willing to answer questions to help others!
post #232 of 343
I have the ES3X and like it a lot, but would not give up my Stax for it. I need both.
It is a matter of taste but IEM's are great for the isolation and portability the provide in addition to their clarity of sound. They are wonderful.
On the other hand, full size cans (Stax in my case) gives you the soundstage only IEM's can dream of. Their sound is also different. Just as clear and enjoyable but in a different category altogether.
IMO if you can have one pair of IEM's and at least one full size set of cans, you would be more satisfied in the long run.
post #233 of 343
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid-Fi View Post
Very impressive review Larry. It's amazing how much you have done for the community. I remember reading this review a few months ago when I joined and it was totally over my head. Going back and reading it again after having a little more point of reference, I could really appreciate the level of detail and subtlety at which you reviewed these custom IEMs.

I have a [few] questions if you don't mind.

(1) I did a few advanced searches within this thread and didn't see it come up so please forgive me if you addressed this already. I noticed in other threads that you mentioned the current D10 topkit brought about a vast improvement in your UE11 Pros. Does that improvement bring them closer to JH13 or ES3X overall?
(2) Also, I was surprised to read that these IEMs had good synergy with your Woo Audio WA6. I assumed that level of a desktop amp would be too powerful for sensitive IEMs - great to know. Lastly, how big of an improvement do you feel WA6 brings over current topkit D10 (only point of reference so far) using these customs?

I always assumed my next headphone upgrade after IE8 would be full-size cans, but your review really makes me think I would be happier with one of these. It seems like you can get excellent and comparable sound with a much cheaper amp compared to the gear your high end full-size cans require (like ur Stax or HD800s). ES3X and JH13 really intrigue me. It sounds like JH13 are the best regarded IEM overall, but your description of ES3X soundstage placing you in the middle of the stage being surrounded by music in a virtual space sounds pretty epic .

Thanks again for another awesome review and contribution and for seemingly always being willing to answer questions to help others!
Thanks!

1. The D10 topkit with TLE2141-CA/EL8201 doesn't really bring the UE11Pro to sounding like the others, but it does make the D10 work much better with the UE11Pro than it did before. The D10 with the new topkit is now better with the UE11Pro than the 3MOVE was (although 3MOVE is certainly an option). The UE11Pro mids with the D10 are still not as rich and vivid as with the ES3X or even the JH13Pro, but I can't complain about the bass which still hits hard but with better control and speed. The UE11Pro with the 3MOVE has a little better mids, but less bass control and definition.

2. The improvement with the Apogee mini-DAC > Woo WA6 with any of these three custom IEM is not just a little. bit The sound with the WA6 is simply more refined, realistic, transparent, powerful and totally under control. This combo DOES bring the three customs closer together in performance, and to a level that is sometimes astonishing.

I upgraded to a EC ZDT and was supposed to sell the WA6 when the new amp arrived. I wanted money to buy an upgraded electrostatic amp and had a buyer for the WA6 lined up. But I chickened out because the WA6 sounds so good when combined with these custom IEM that I couldn't bear the thought of parting with the it. The WA6 can drive loads down to 8 ohm or up to 600 ohm (impedance switch on back) and it has a dead silent black background. My WA6 is maxed with pseudo dual power supply upgrade and Sophia Princess 274b rectifier/RCA 6DE7 tubes.

The pseudo dual PSU and Sophia 274b make the biggest difference in refinement, control and soundstage/separation, so I think Woo is not going to be doing the maxed upgrade for WA6 anymore when people could just get the basic WA6SE instead. I don't know how the WA6SE would do with the custom IEM as it has a lot more power - it might have too much gain for the custom IEM. The WA22 is similarly more powerful and I don't know if it is good choice either - it's a balanced amp and it does have a noticeably wider deeper soundstage than the WA6 when compared side by side, even with the single ended 1/4" jack headphone out (same timbre/tone/refinement).
post #234 of 343
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
Thanks!

1. The D10 topkit with TLE2141-CA/EL8201 doesn't really bring the UE11Pro to sounding like the others, but it does make the D10 work much better with the UE11Pro than it did before. The D10 with the new topkit is now better with the UE11Pro than the 3MOVE was (although 3MOVE is certainly an option). The UE11Pro mids with the D10 are still not as rich and vivid as with the ES3X or even the JH13Pro, but I can't complain about the bass which still hits hard but with better control and speed. The UE11Pro with the 3MOVE has a little better mids, but less bass control and definition.

2. The improvement with the Apogee mini-DAC > Woo WA6 with any of these three custom IEM is not just a little. bit The sound with the WA6 is simply more refined, realistic, transparent, powerful and totally under control. This combo DOES bring the three customs closer together in performance, and to a level that is sometimes astonishing.

I upgraded to a EC ZDT and was supposed to sell the WA6 when the new amp arrived. I wanted money to buy an upgraded electrostatic amp and had a buyer for the WA6 lined up. But I chickened out because the WA6 sounds so good when combined with these custom IEM that I couldn't bear the thought of parting with the it. The WA6 can drive loads down to 8 ohm or up to 600 ohm (impedance switch on back) and it has a dead silent black background. My WA6 is maxed with pseudo dual power supply upgrade and Sophia Princess 274b rectifier/RCA 6DE7 tubes.

The pseudo dual PSU and Sophia 274b make the biggest difference in refinement, control and soundstage/separation, so I think Woo is not going to be doing the maxed upgrade for WA6 anymore when people could just get the basic WA6SE instead. I don't know how the WA6SE would do with the custom IEM as it has a lot more power - it might have too much gain for the custom IEM. The WA22 is similarly more powerful and I don't know if it is good choice either - it's a balanced amp and it does have a noticeably wider deeper soundstage than the WA6 when compared side by side, even with the single ended 1/4" jack headphone out (same timbre/tone/refinement).
Thanks for the detailed reply Larry. Woo Audio WA6 definitely sounds like it will have a place in my future.

Is Apogee Mini-Dac comparable to DAC1 or Isabellina or Neko D100? I know it's cheaper, but you seem to really like it and you have some pricey gear. It also seems to play a key role in many of the best experiences you mention in your reviews along with WA6. Thanks again!
post #235 of 343
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid-Fi View Post
Thanks for the detailed reply Larry. Woo Audio WA6 definitely sounds like it will have a place in my future.

Is Apogee Mini-Dac comparable to DAC1 or Isabellina or Neko D100? I know it's cheaper, but you seem to really like it and you have some pricey gear. It also seems to play a key role in many of the best experiences you mention in your reviews along with WA6. Thanks again!
I have not heard any of the other three DAC you mentioned.

I like the mini-DAC slightly more than my stock PS Audio Digital Link III (except with GES/Stax O2), or a Stello DA100 Signature which was very similar to the PSA when the later is set for 96K up-sampling. I should mention that I use a Sigma 11 PSU that n_maher built and it helps the sound to be smoother, deeper and richer than the stock switching PSU. Another member runs his from a 12v SLA battery.

Here is a good review of the Apogee vs some other very nice DACs, and I bought the actual Apogee that was used for the review about a year and a half ago and don't regret it: Review: Apogee Mini-DAC vs AQVOX USB 2 D/A MkII vs Stello DA100/HP100 vs Corda Opera - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio
post #236 of 343
Quote:
Originally Posted by gilency View Post
I have the ES3X and like it a lot, but would not give up my Stax for it. I need both.
It is a matter of taste but IEM's are great for the isolation and portability the provide in addition to their clarity of sound. They are wonderful.
On the other hand, full size cans (Stax in my case) gives you the soundstage only IEM's can dream of. Their sound is also different. Just as clear and enjoyable but in a different category altogether.
IMO if you can have one pair of IEM's and at least one full size set of cans, you would be more satisfied in the long run.
Thanks for the suggestion gilency, I appreciate your perspective.
post #237 of 343
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I have not heard any of the other three DAC you mentioned.

I like the mini-DAC slightly more than my stock PS Audio Digital Link III (except with GES/Stax O2), or a Stello DA100 Signature which was very similar to the PSA when the later is set for 96K up-sampling. I should mention that I use a Sigma 11 PSU that n_maher built and it helps the sound to be smoother, deeper and richer than the stock switching PSU. Another member runs his from a 12v SLA battery.

Here is a good review of the Apogee vs some other very nice DACs, and I bought the actual Apogee that was used for the review about a year and a half ago and don't regret it: Review: Apogee Mini-DAC vs AQVOX USB 2 D/A MkII vs Stello DA100/HP100 vs Corda Opera - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio
Thanks again Larry. Any idea what a DIY psu like yours runs ballpark? I'm also keeping my eye on the upcoming RWA Black Lightning SLA battery supplies. Sounds like they will be awesome, but pricey though. Also, thanks for the link. I did notice the comments that mentioned how much Mini-Dac improved with an upgraded power supply. The Opera sure sounded nice as well. I wonder how it would work with the customs you reviewed or if it would have hiss issues.
post #238 of 343
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid-Fi View Post
Thanks again Larry. Any idea what a DIY psu like yours runs ballpark? I'm also keeping my eye on the upcoming RWA Black Lightning SLA battery supplies. Sounds like they will be awesome, but pricey though. Also, thanks for the link. I did notice the comments that mentioned how much Mini-Dac improved with an upgraded power supply. The Opera sure sounded nice as well. I wonder how it would work with the customs you reviewed or if it would have hiss issues.
The Sigma 22 run about $200 in parts to build it yourself, or about $320 to have one built by YBM.

The σ22 Regulated Power Supply

The Sigma 11 is a single rail version of the Sigma 22, and should be about 3/4 the cost if you build it yourself. It would be half the cost, but the casing etc will come out about the same.
post #239 of 343
Quote:
Originally Posted by barleyguy View Post
The Sigma 22 run about $200 in parts to build it yourself, or about $320 to have one built by YBM.

The σ22 Regulated Power Supply

The Sigma 11 is a single rail version of the Sigma 22, and should be about 3/4 the cost if you build it yourself. It would be half the cost, but the casing etc will come out about the same.
Thanks for the info and link barleyguy. I hadn't heard about this yet. Open source DIY designs sound pretty neat. Any idea if either the Sigma 11 or 22 would be compatible with the Wadia 170i? I read several threads about the Wadia, but only read about CI Audio power supplies being used with it. Would the Sigma be comparable? I'd appreciate any insight. Thanks!
post #240 of 343
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid-Fi View Post
Thanks for the info and link barleyguy. I hadn't heard about this yet. Open source DIY designs sound pretty neat. Any idea if either the Sigma 11 or 22 would be compatible with the Wadia 170i? I read several threads about the Wadia, but only read about CI Audio power supplies being used with it. Would the Sigma be comparable? I'd appreciate any insight. Thanks!
I don't know much about the Wadia 170i, so I don't know the answer. The Sigma 22 can be tailored to different voltages by slight variations of the build, so I suspect it would be compatible. But I don't know for sure. You could post a question in the DIY forum maybe.

I do think it would be comparable to the CI Audio power supplies. The Sigma 22 is a great power supply. I've only heard it with the EHHA, and haven't had a chance to do A/B without it. But the EHHA / Sigma 22 combination sounds very good, and I think the Sigma 22 is a contributing factor. I've also heard from Larry and Bill that a Sigma power supply is a significant upgrade to many DACs.
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