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Top-Tier Universal IEM Comparison Chart, Frequency Response Charts, & Discussion - Page 9

post #121 of 785
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post
If you don't like the thread, ignore it. If you don't agree with the idea, stay away! If you want to try to help with something that possibly be helpful for people that are going to spend a lot on universals, please contribute.

Thank you for your contribution and respect!
I'm not trying to be mean or thread crap and it's not really a matter of whether I like it or not, I could personally care less. Maybe I should have been more concise, the point I was trying to make is no matter how well intentioned, I see threads like this that try to differentiate tier's or this is better than that as becoming incredibly argumentative, biased and misleading to be of any real use to people looking for information.

For example, you've already separated 3 IEM's as being better than all the others even though there seems to be quite a bit of dissension as to the validity of that.

I actually like the idea of a discussion / comparison thread, heck even the main page chart has some good points to it with it's brief descriptions derived from the overall consensus of opinion, it's mainly the division of tiers which tries to define one or a group as being better than another that I see being the problem. What happens then is arguments focused on whether this or that should be in top-tier instead of discussions regarding the relative merits and faults of products ensue. That and a lot of new users will look at a list like that as being definitive information as to what's better which I believe can have a detrimental effect because so much of this comes down to personal preference.

Sorry if you view the criticism as thread crapping.
post #122 of 785
Some notes that I have gathered for the ER-4P (these are not my own opinions, but I can link to posts if necessary)

What it does better than anything else : Isolation, "detail retrieval"
Sound sig : Analytical, uncoloured
Notes : Scales very well with source upgrades. Stock cable has bad microphonics.

Also you can count me in as a +vote for the CK10.

Note : Large housing causes fit difficulties for some
post #123 of 785
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post
Actually listening to music and enjoying it is all about taste and the desire for accurate reproduction has to do more with trying to justify a purchase of a more expensive audio device than actually desiring better sound quality IMO. Through iBuds, many people can get a much more satisfying sense of space than with high-end IEMs and with $20 full sized closed cans, like Senn HD202 for example, many can get a far more satisfying bass kick than with cans costing hundreds of $$. And even though more expensive cans are technically more accurate, the thing is that most of the music that we hear on day to day basis when we are out and about is reproduced through cheap car stereos, cheap speakers in stores, etc, and we get used to that and consider that sound as right on a subconscious level. Thus, cheap cans can actually sound far more enjoyable than crazy expensive cans, even though most people who are into high-end gear don't want to admit that.
We don't want to admit it only cause it's not true (smile).

Most of us have had occasion to hear live music in some form. The orchestra that played at the musical you went to, the string quartet at Macy's at Christmas, the piano at your favorite watering hole, etc. No matter how crappy the speakers at the mall or your car stereo, I doubt that very many people with normal hearing really think this is "right". They might not CARE that it's not right, but that's a different issue...

On Head-fi, sound quality is the reason most of us are here, and it's why these threads are so long. Because we do care about it. The difference between good sounding, great sounding and lousy sounding is readily apparent, in my view. Spending more doesn't ALWAYS give you better sound, but often it does.

I bought a few of the moderately (to me) priced IEM's talked about on this thread. I did it because; a) I could, b) I wanted to get to the bottom of the sound quality issue for myself. And b) is my justification.

post #124 of 785
It will be hilarious if the $79 Etymotic MC5's rival the $300-$400 triple drivers, Orotron and Grado IEM's.

I don't expect that but you never know with how fast things are changing.
post #125 of 785
^ that would not be hilarious at all for those who bought them!
post #126 of 785
Well, it's using that same type of hybrid "moving" BA driver that the Grado and Orotron are using.

If it is much better than HF5 then it is surely better than the ER4P which is saying a hell of a lot considering it sold for $299 at one time. Very anxious to hear it!

But $79? It can't possibly be very good, right?
post #127 of 785
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
Well, it's using that same type of hybrid "moving" BA driver that the Grado and Ortofon are using
That's very interesting, where did you find that out?
post #128 of 785
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post
I am not making changes based off what one person says, no matter how loud they say it.
ok,message taken.
post #129 of 785
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
It will be hilarious if the $79 Etymotic MC5's rival the $300-$400 triple drivers, Orotron and Grado IEM's.

I don't expect that but you never know with how fast things are changing.
Quick note...talking to the engineer that designed them at CES, they are just a typical dynamic driver IEM, but he did some special work to make them sound Ety like. They do have nice dynamic bass, but are not going to take down the $200+ IEMs, at least from my 20+ minutes of listening to them.
post #130 of 785
of course not! well i hope not at least. i couldn't wait for them to release it so I bought the Ortofon instead. However if it did compare to 300-400 dollar iem's I'm sure that ety would have put a higher price tag than $79.
post #131 of 785
They would also cannibalize the HF5 and ER-4P, not sure they want to do that. Still interesting to see them branch out into dynamic. Probably a more suitable discussion for this thread, though http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/e...50/index4.html
post #132 of 785
I will vote for UM3x and IE8.

IE8 has a lot fun factors, like bass and soundstage, very prominent low end,but it is lack of micro detail and sounds a little but veiled, the worst part is that it has almost zero isolation, it makes me hard to enjoy it when I am out of my house.

UM3X is one of most neutral sound I even heard and has brilliant instrument separation or reproduction. It you love guitar sound, you will be wowed by it. As it pumps up the vocal upfront, you can really enjoy vocal with a small volume even you are outside. It soundstage signature varies when you change the tips, if you use shure black foam, the vocal become warm and rich.

Weakest is lack of soundstage and less dynamic to top tier IEM

I have a good feeling Q7 or westone 2 also a great IEM
post #133 of 785
Now that I understand that this thread is more about technical superiority rather than personal enjoyment. Please remove my name from the W2 supporter. They are still a solid next to tier but technically speaking, they aren't astonding in any respect.
post #134 of 785
and the UM3X, technically speaking, is definitely top tier. I really don't enjoy its sound on certain more dynamic songs but they should definitely be in the same tier as the Monster Turbine Pros that I owned at a point in time. The MTPG, during the brief time I had a decent fit with it, didn't wow me at all. Speedy tight bass, good mid, decent high and probably as bad of a soundstage as the UM3X and UM3X's soundstage is it's only downfall really.
post #135 of 785
I have a hard time seeing how the IE8, W3, TF10 and UM3x, which have been vetted by hundreds of Head-fiers (as evidenced by long appreciation/impression threads) and praised by most of the highly-respected members are placed in the "2nd Tier", while 3 newcomers are "Top Tier". I haven't heard the new 3, and it's possible that they are clearly a step above the others, but the chart could be a bit misleading to newcomers to this site who don't read the impressions threads for other IEMs that have been around much longer. I do appreciate the effort behind the chart, though.

I agree with others who think that the chart would probably be most useful if it is mainly a summary of the basic qualities of the top 10-15 most highly-regarded IEMs, rather than an attempt to rank them or place them into tiers.

In the interest of fleshing out the chart, I'll offer my humble opinion on the 2 IEMs I've been listening to most recently:


Strengths - Distinct instrument separation, wide imaging and placement of sounds. Bass extends quite low and has robust impact. Ergonomic design is very comfortable and discreet.
Weaknesses - Midrange can seem a bit distant. Overall presentation can seem a bit too much "in-head" and congested. Can sound too flat on some sources if not EQ'd up in the treble and midrange. Cable is a bit thin and tends to slap against my chest when running or get caught on things.
Top-Tier status? I definitely think so. I can't believe that it stands the risk of being demoted into the 3rd tier! I also disagree with the chart that the W3's "warmth" can mask details; I think it is much less warm than the IE8 and therefore there is less of a veil over the details.


Strengths - Airy, smooth sound that feels spacious. Treble extends fairly high without needing much EQ. Bass has visceral, subwoofer-esque impact. Shallow insertion makes for very comfortable long-term listening. Cable is perfect for jogging.
Weaknesses - Warm sound seems to sand down the details at times. Bass can be overpowering without EQ or with certain tips. Sound changes during burn-in, possibly becoming more dull.
Deserves to be considered "top-tier" in my opinion.

While I prefer these 2 IEMs over the UM3x, TF10 and SE530, I think that they all belong in the same category. If they had to be ranked, I would rank them in the order I listed.
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