Thanks for the review. Reading through it was quite a journey, a very enjoyable one
post #76 of 343
8/15/09 at 10:18pm
You're ordering all 3 ES3X, UE11 & JH13? Working part-time & maiking $9.50 an hour?! :-)
I was surprised also. UE11 has been out a long time, and it has never received the same reception as the JH13. I remember only a few really good UE11 impressions, and only a select few prefer the UE11 to high-end headphones. Perhaps HPA was trying to be unbiased to the point of "they are all somewhat similar and will make you happy" Fact is, almost all JH13 owners (who also own UE11) say that the JH13 bests the UE11 on all fronts.
I was surprised that the comparison was as close as it was. I haven't heard any of the IEM's being reviewed, but my expectation was that the gap between the JH13pro and everything else would be greater than it seems to have been.
It raises some interesting questions about the relative value of the various options. It seems that the similarities between them are more significant than the differences. It causes me to think that the sound is primarily influenced by the technology, rather than significant differences in engineering principles. If they're all using the same basic BA drivers, there isn't going to be profound differences on the basics- speed, resolution, etc...
This is different than what we would typically see with full-sized headphones, where choice of materials and the wide variation in driver engineering creates a greater range of quality differences between cans.
This would seem consistent with the experiences of universal IEM users who suggest that the differences between the top models are minor on sound quality. The differences being attributed more to preferred flavors or sound signatures.
I also felt the review raised important issues around the real-world problems with doing comparative reviews. Brain burn-in and listener fatigue, component coloration, etc... all are hard to control for confounding variables.
I thought the part where HPA described his reactions to switching one IEM for another, then describing immediate impressions before brain burn-in and adjusting to the different sound signature, helped to magnify the differences.
People have described the UM3X treble as rolled off in comparison with the triple.fi, so I was surprised when the ES3X treble seemed more forward in comparison to the JH13pro's. Obviously I'm using some flawed transitivity logic, but that seems to be what we do when we're trying to paint a picture without experience.
Subjectively, it's hard for me to reconcile the extremely positive response that the JH13pro seems to have received with the overall similarity in sound quality that it seems HPA discovered when comparing these customs.
There's a tone to the JH13pro thread that seems to exceed the level of response that the UE11 or ES3X seems to have produced when they were released.
It caused me to believe that the magnitude of difference between the JH13 and the ES3X/UE11 would have been greater than it seems to have been to HPA's ears. I still find a little confusing trying to reconcile that discrepancy.
HPA is truly an authority and this review is another great example of his contribution to this forum. I have been following the JH13 appreciation thread for a while since I recently bought UE11s. The UE folks gave a great deal at CanJam and at that time, I was not aware of JH Audio stuff. After I placed my order did I find out about the JH13s. I wished I had taken the time to research here before jumping in. At the moment, I do find the UE11s quite enjoyable with an iQube amp. HPA, have you tried UE11s with iQube, they seem to have great synergy. Either way, now I am wondering when I will take the JH13 plunge. To those that own it, congrats and enjoy.