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Top-Tier Universal IEM Comparison Chart, Frequency Response Charts, & Discussion - Page 3

post #31 of 785
Look out Joe, It's starting to heat up in here lol. Cheers friend.
post #32 of 785
Maybe you should consider moving planets Honeyboy.
post #33 of 785
Quote:
Originally Posted by playingwithfire View Post
That's a bit of a skewed criteria don't you think? eg I can't think of one single thing that the W3 is the best in. Bass quantity is less than Monster Turbine, bass quality is worse than UM3X, instrument separation is definitely worse than the UM3X...


That's what's tricky about a thread like this. I guess I would somewhat agree that W2 and W3 don't do any single thing "best" but that's just it, they do everything very very well and make them a great choice. One negative like a lack of bass on ER4P is a complete deal breaker for me.

When it comes to IEM's I think ergonomics are very important as they are so often used "on the go".

GR-8 has the best midrange and treble I have ever heard on all the IEM's I have owned. The transparency and naturalness is just phenommenal. They lack a little "weight" but the more I listen to them the more "correct" I am starting to think they really sound.
post #34 of 785
Quote:
Originally Posted by midoo1990 View Post
Fx500 is definatly a must in this list.it have the best timbre and bass in any iem.it is very underrated here.ck10 is toptier in only clarity,transperancy and speed.
I have to admit that CK10 does grow in me, but other than clarity, transparency, speed, CK10's imaging is really good, better than both TF10 and IE8. To my ears of course CK10, TF10, and IE8 are the only IEMs which I own in the list, so I really don't know how CK10 would compare to others like the UM3X which people praise for their fantastic instrument separation.

@average_joe, I suggest making a list of IEMs which you own currently, and exclude those you haven't heard before or have sold. So that the 'top-tier list' remains as your one-person-opinion, and anything others say within the thread remain as their own opinion. I believe that you and your ears have the ability to tell which are deserved to be top-tier or which are overrated And, if everybody chimes in with their top-tier, as others have stated, the list is going to include almost 80% of IEMs available in the planet Earth Please forgive me for saying something inappropriate in post #16.
post #35 of 785
Quote:
Originally Posted by iponderous View Post
I wonder who coined the term "top tier IEM" in the first place? As I mentioned in another thread, when I joined Head-Fi a top tier universal IEM was a triple balanced armature costing between $400 and $500. Then along came the IE8.
i think it may have been me, for so long it was the 530 and tf10 at the top then the W3 and IE8 came out. like the banks and accounting firms they became the big 4 but then the UM3x which i view as a W3 tuned differently. because i couldnt decide if i should treat the W3 and um3x as one keeping the moniker "big four" i started calling them top tier and top table.

the CK100 was always the maybe it is maybe it isnt but since so few have heard it there just isnt enough consensus opinion for it to get top tier status.

same with the e-Q7 and RE-252.

i like to think of their being a tier two, or IEMs standing around the top table and thats the ones that may be good or great in areas there is something lacking and they just never get that universal placing. things here id say are the IE7, CK10, ER4, RE-0, Custom 3 and im sure there others ive not heard. some may very well like tier two IEM's more than some or all top tiers. im a big fan of the IE7 and easily like it more than the IE8 but i still recognise the 7 has failings like all the teir two's.


however what really makes something top teir is that pretty much everyone agrees it deserves it. whether its sound sig is for you or not there should still be that recognition as something having greatness. like im no fan of the UM3x or IE8 but i still that they can do great things. the IE8 and its spectacular power and detail, i dont really like it but i have to recognise at what it does it is truly great, the 7 while i find more enjoyable it just doent have that greatness.
post #36 of 785
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2410 View Post
i think it may have been me...
Congratulations!

however what really makes something top teir is that pretty much everyone agrees it deserves it. whether its sound sig is for you or not there should still be that recognition as something having greatness...
Therein lies the problem.
I like your term Mark and found it useful when I first started lurking here.
post #37 of 785
Like everyone said here I do agree that the TF10 and the ER4S needs to be on this list. Also one to consider is the Klipsch Image X10. Although it is obviously not the best sounding, it has comfort that really no other IEM has. Also it has very accurate bass, keeping it an overall enjoyable sounding IEM. It has recessed mids, but not as bad as the TF10. It sounds good with everything that I throw at it, which is why I think it is a worhty contender.
post #38 of 785
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone that is contributing to this thread. I will be trying to keep and update when I have time. One of the things I was planning from the start when I get enough information is to have the "top-tier" category and the "near-top-tier" category depending on how the popular opinion goes. There will always be differing opinions on this and I will try to be as impartial as possible, going with the majority.

IMO one of the biggest issues is that people have not heard all or even most of these and stick to the one that they have heard as being the best, or top-tier. I have to admit I only have listened to the UM3X and SE530 for about 20 minutes each and if I had them for an extended period of time, my view might be different. That is why I am relying on others to form a consensus.

Also, please feel free to give me suggestions/corrections to the chart in the first post. Please let me know in a way that suggests changing the chart, and maybe ask for others input. And I will post every time I update it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
CK10 imaging is mediocre...

As for top tier, I see this like super cars. Something is a top tier product because it does something better then every other product out there. It also largely does nothing seriously wrong. In this sense, a top tier earphone would lack any significant flaws and be special/amazing in some particular way. I see things like the UM3X, IE8, Triple.Fi 10, and RE252 as top tier products. They are all seriously good products or at least largely good products that do certain things amazingly well.
Thank you for your input. Seems you hear things differently than I do (not just in this thread) so I will wait on a consensus on some of the products, and if the majority rules, so be it! But thank you for all the details.

To others (that have not already), do you agree or disagree that the CK10 and SE530 are "top-tier" IEMs, or "near-top-tier?" And I do agree with the super car analogy, but some super cars are clearly superior to others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iponderous View Post
^ average_joe, I see that you have now decided to include the TF10 in your list of top-tier IEMs. Your own personal preferences notwithstanding, I think that such a list would be incomplete without it. Prior to the Amazon $99.00 sale, that I think devalued more than the price of the TF10 alone, it was regarded as a top-tier IEM along with the SE530, W3, UM3X and the IE8. All of these IEMs have strengths and weaknesses in audio quality, design and build quality, that have been identified by Head-Fiers who have owned them. Having owned all but the W3, I can see no reason why the TF10 would be excluded.
Yes, but the for/against votes should help people with their decisions. At least that is my thought. Do you think it is possible for the new crop of IEMs such as the e-Q7, Copper, and GR8 for example to be better than the previous "top-tier" IEMs? And what are your thoughts on the UM3X...

Quote:
Originally Posted by midoo1990 View Post
Joe,add the fx500 and i am the first supporter for it and also supporter for ie8,but ck10 NO because of treble and bass.

Fx500 strenghts:superb bass detail,texture and punch and extends very deep.
Excellent clarity,transparency and top notch timbre and reverbation.

Weakness:treble on the border line of being harsh,sibilant at times.
While I do think the FX500 competes with some songs, I think it is totally outclassed in others and is a hit or miss IEM. I can add it to the list, and it will be easier when I have two categories. I personally feel it would be a step below the "near top-tier" IEMs. Other opinions are welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by javajive View Post
@average_joe You may want to consider nominating 3 IEMs for each Best at category and then allow only those who have owned all 3 vote on them.
Something like that, and thank you for the suggestion!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guidostrunk View Post
Look out Joe, It's starting to heat up in here lol. Cheers friend.
Yep, the good ole "which is best" debate. I am trying to put some rhyme and reason to it, if possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2410 View Post
i think it may have been me, for so long it was the 530 and tf10 at the top then the W3 and IE8 came out. like the banks and accounting firms they became the big 4 but then the UM3x which i view as a W3 tuned differently. because i couldnt decide if i should treat the W3 and um3x as one keeping the moniker "big four" i started calling them top tier and top table.

the CK100 was always the maybe it is maybe it isnt but since so few have heard it there just isnt enough consensus opinion for it to get top tier status.

same with the e-Q7 and RE-252.

i like to think of their being a tier two, or IEMs standing around the top table and thats the ones that may be good or great in areas there is something lacking and they just never get that universal placing. things here id say are the IE7, CK10, ER4, RE-0, Custom 3 and im sure there others ive not heard. some may very well like tier two IEM's more than some or all top tiers. im a big fan of the IE7 and easily like it more than the IE8 but i still recognise the 7 has failings like all the teir two's.
When I have time I will do the 2 tier approach, which I am sure will bring a lot of disagreement, especially when someone's favorite falls in "near top-tier!" And I think top-tier should be more about SQ than fit, unless there is a near majority with fit issues.

Now, I thing the IEMs you mentioned (IE7, RE-0, Custom 3) as tier two would really be my tier 3. And two of the most expensive IEMs on the list, the CK100 and SE530 may fall to the near-top-tier category.

Quote:
however what really makes something top teir is that pretty much everyone agrees it deserves it. whether its sound sig is for you or not there should still be that recognition as something having greatness. like im no fan of the UM3x or IE8 but i still that they can do great things. the IE8 and its spectacular power and detail, i dont really like it but i have to recognise at what it does it is truly great, the 7 while i find more enjoyable it just doent have that greatness.
And I agree...I am trying to create the "top-tier" based on how the IEMs do things technically, not if people like their sound signature. I personally don't like the sound sig of the TF10 or SE530, but if they are true top-tier, so be it.

I guess we will see where this goes...
post #39 of 785
"Do you think it is possible for the new crop of IEMs such as the e-Q7, Copper, and GR8 for example to be better than the previous "top-tier" IEMs? And what are your thoughts on the UM3X..."

I can't see why not but without trying them I really can't say. I've expressed my opinion about the UM3X so many times in different threads that I'm over myself. In summary: detailed with good instrument separation; highs slightly rolled-off and lacking crispness; balanced presentation overall; bass is present but lacks some definition; a warm sounding phone; constricted presentation due to small soundstage; and a lifeless sound signature.
post #40 of 785
I see my username is shown in the supporter column for the UM3x within the matrix on the first page. I'm more than happy to champion the UM3x's top tier status.

I'd also be more than happy to have my username added to the "opposes top tier status" column for the Sennheiser IE8s. I continue to be bemused at their reputation. Way too coloured, with veiled mids, for my tastes. Fit and isolation are also below par.

Overall the IE8s are very good, but they're not GREAT. Fairly priced at the street price, but their American RRP is just comical. I'd place them in the 2nd division.

---------------------------- EDIT ----------------------------

I just need to disagree with a couple of points in the post above mine.

To my ears the UM3x bass has plenty of definition and is actually faster and more defined than the IE8s though not as forward and therefore overpowering. That's when comparing the two earphones both using custom sleeves.

I also don't understand the "lifeless sound signature" comment. Do you mean "lifeless sound signature" as in uncoloured? They certainly don't sound "lifeless" (or "boring" as I've also heard them described) to me. They accurately recreate the music I'm listening to, so if the music is vibrant and exciting that's what the UM3x delivers. On the other hand I find the IE8s a bit dull and plodding at times. I often find I fall asleep when listening to the IE8s but my attention is always grabbed by the UM3x.

But I guess the point of this thread is for us to discuss are differences of opinion ... we're clearly never going to reach forum-wide concensus on which are the top tier IEMs and which aren't.
post #41 of 785
Good luck with this Joe, you have some serious guts, daring to start something like that. Its gonna be very informative and useful though, but you're probably gonna have to indefinitely enlarge each of the boxes in your table...
post #42 of 785
been listening to the UM3X exclusively the last couple days. Starting to really dig it but man, it is source dependent. Some songs really sound lifeless with them(W3 always has a way of making things exciting, though sometimes too much so.) and lower bitrate mp3 can sound bad. And the soundstage is really weird, hearing some pink floyd songs as if they are all in a small studio is...different.

Alas, one more thing, I'd call the W2's signature neutral. They are basically a more spaced out UM3X with less detail and location cue.
post #43 of 785
Quote:
Originally Posted by daouda View Post
Good luck with this Joe, you have some serious guts, daring to start something like that. Its gonna be very informative and useful though, but you're probably gonna have to indefinitely enlarge each of the boxes in your table...
Yeah haha those boxes are way to small and be prepared to change names allocated to some boxes regularly. "Headphone enthusiasts" are quite a capricious group of individuals.
post #44 of 785
Hi joe. Thanks for the chart. Just a tip, though - you would be better off saving the image as a GIF or PNG. They deal with simple-colour images better than JPEG compression.
post #45 of 785
Quote:
Originally Posted by iponderous View Post
Prior to the Amazon $99.00 sale, that I think devalued more than the price of the TF10 alone.
Interesting perspective there. I would have thought that people would be even more impressed for $100 than $400. As it is, I think it just showed what a rip-off in terms of design and build quality the Triple.Fi had been all along.
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