Just saw it @ Joe. Sorry. I don't know what it would take. I have to ponder that question. I just think there a lot of very good IEMs out here now that do something a little differently than any other earphone. Then I think there are a an elite few that have their very own strong characteristics. This is what I get when I read about the SM3, I think this is true with the e-Q7, and is definitely true with the DDM. What I mean by this, nothing really sounded like the e-Q7 for awhile when it came out, and not much really sounds like it now. I imagine this is true about the SM3 from what I've read. Well, I can vouch for the DDM and state it's doing some things I've haven't heard in an IEM before. So I think we first need to establish some parameters such as that. But I don't think there will ever truly be one king in the universal IEM world. I could be wrong too. Time will tell.
Thanks for the answer...it isn't an easy one, which is why I posed the question. For example, I think the SM3 does things technically better than anything else I have heard to date, but doesn't have a weakness. I have thought that the resolution and making a low bit rate song sound like a low bit rate song, or a poorly mastered song sound bad was a weakness, but the flip side is the amazement I get with well mastered high bit rate songs.
And I too didn't think that there was one top universal. Then I heard the the e-Q7 and then the FX700 and thought they might be a cut above, but still had strengths and weaknesses when pitted against each other. But to me (and make sure you read the to me please) the SM3 did not have any weaknesses vs. the FX700 or e-Q7 head-to-head. I was blown away! So much so I sold the rest, as nothing else gets ear time!
If anything deserves to be the one king, so far the SM3 is it from my experience. But I have not heard all the current top-tier candidates, and there are more on the horizon. But I am looking forward to seeing how the Radius stacks up. And I won't be changing the chart to have just one top-tier IEM (at least just yet ) but trying to get some thought provoking posts.