Not that I've heard.
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Not that I've heard.
Not a clue, but my Spiral Ear silicone custom isolates more than even my silicone-tipped Etymotic ER4S. I use it for flights. Can't hear the announcements even with no music playing.
I promised to post updates on IEMs in my possession that I don't plan to review due to lack of time. Most of these are simply unexciting but in keeping with my promise I'll post short thoughts and add them to the list on the front page of the thread. I used three benchmarks just to see where all of these sets fall - the TDK MT300, Dunu Trident, and Sony MH1C. These are just very brief listening impressions done over the course of two evenings.
XTZ EarPhone-12 (Manufacturer's page)
An interesting-looking earphone, but lacking in ergonomics. The squared-off tips are terrible. The buds are magnetic, which is good for storage. I've seen this before with the Zune Premium Earbuds. The packaging and build are extremely cheap, so I figured they would cost $20-30. With that assumption they actually don't sound bad - somewhere on the level of the Dunu Trident or Soundmagic E10. The sound has decent clarity and a slight bass boost, but lacks deep bass. It also lacks treble energy, and the presentation is oddly vague. The earphones do come with a DSP app, but it only works on iOS devices. In seeking info on the app, I ran across the manufacturer's website, and the price. € 70,00. Next!
JBL J22i (Manufacturer's page)
Nicely designed and overall quite well-built for $60. The cable is a little longer than average. Mild driver flex is present. The sound is extremely bassy but also quite bloated. It's not as muffled and veiled as the $24 TDK MT300, but not much better. Compared to my benchmark, the Dunu Trident, it seriously lacks in clarity and treble presence. If you're a basshead in need of a headset, just get the JVC FR201 instead.
Can't even find the product page for this but amazon.de shows a price of € 102,87. It also shows some very nice product images - ones that look much better than the actual thing. The earphone feels quite cheap compared to the JBL J22 - mostly plastic and with a memory-prone plastic cable. The sound is much better, however - there is still good bass but it's not nearly as bloated as the JBL. The mids are much clearer and more prominent and the treble is nice and smooth. Overall it easily beats the Dunu Trident and can compete with the Sony MH1C. All in all, it really isn't bad so it might get a full review down the line, especially if it's introduced to the US market.
Harman Kardon AE (Manufacturer's page)
The bass-heavy version of Harman's in-ear range. Construction is excellent - very tight and solid-feeling. As for the sound, there's definitely plenty of bass, and tends to be boomy. Sounded better than the Trident but not by much, and didn't keep up with the MH1C or AKG K376. Hard to take it seriously at $150.
Harman Kardon NI (Manufacturer's page)
This is the "balanced-sounding" version of Harman's new in-ears. For some reason Harman decided that it doesn't need to be as well-made as the AE version, so it feels cheaper and more plasticky. The sound is definitely less bassy than the AE version, but overall it doesn't sound much better - better than the Trident but a little flat and harsh compared to the MH1C. Probably a better value than the AE, but still not great.
All of the above are going on my "review not planned" list (found on the front page under the Planned Reviews heading) for the time being.
There are two more sets that do sound good - the Steelseries Flux In-Ear and In-Ear Pro. I certainly didn't expect two IEMs from a gaming headset company to sound as good as these do and beat entries from JBL and Harman, but they do.
The In-ear uses a dynamic driver. It looks a lot like the HiSound Crystal and is very comfortable, like the Crystal. The stock tips are also very nice. Quite impressed by these at $50, so I'll see if I can squeeze them in at some point in the future.
The In-ear Pro uses a single BA, as far as I can tell from the specs. Sound seems to be competitive with the UE 600, which is good. Priced at $130, I don't think it's quite as impressive a value as the regular Flux In-ear, but it's definitely good-sounding. Seems to be let down by some design choices - the cable uses an extender system with a proprietary connector, which seems unnecessary, and though it is advertised for both cable-down and cable-up wear, it seems to only work over-the-ear.
All in all, the Flux In-Ear is going in the "to review" pile. The In-Ear Pro and K376 are a maybe. The rest are best not mentioned again.
They are both neutral-ish, so not a night and day difference, but different enough. I think in the long run you'll end up preferring one to the other, though.
Seems like the RE272 would have been good for you but sadly it's been discontinued. The lesser treble quantity of the RE-400 makes it the 'safe' choice but you would probably like the new Philips Fidelio S1/S2 IEMs - they do have more bass than the RE-400, especially subbass, but as a result the mid-bass is actually not as prominent. More importantly, the Philips IEMs are a little brighter. I would recommend you try them first because I can see the treble being at the limit of someone's tolerance but they are definitely not as "hot" up top as the GR07.
Review of the Hidition NT 6 CIEM is below. Had to re-scale the Sound Quality scoring slightly to accommodate it. Additional maintenance has been done on the thread - the missing pictures have been re-uploaded and more discontinued items have been marked as such.
(1A7) Hidition NT 6
Added Jun 2013
Details: One of two flagship models from Korea-based Hidition
Current Price: est. $1200 from hidition.co.kr
Specs: Driver: 6 BA / 4-way crossover | Imp: N/A | Sens: N/A | Freq: N/A | Cable: 4.2' I-plug
Nozzle Size: N/A | Preferred tips: N/A
Wear Style: Over-the-ear
Accessories (4/5) – Custom hard-shell carrying case, cleaning tool, and cleaning cloth
Build Quality (5/5) – The build quality of the NT 6 is excellent, with thick acrylic shells and a well-made cable featuring angled connectors and a metal Palics plug. The cable is braided and covered in heatshrink tubing for extra protection but is prone to the memory effect, maintaining its shape after being coiled up for storage. On the cosmetic side, Hidition offers a massive number of customization options, including some very unique mother of pearl faceplates (one of which is shown)
Isolation (4.5/5) - The isolation provided by the deep-sealing shells is excellent - slightly below that of my silicone-shelled customs but higher than with my other acrylic-shelled units
Microphonics (4.5/5) – The heatshrink-wrapped cable produces slightly more microphonics than the cables on my other customs
Comfort (5/5) – My NT 6 was built with a musician fit, extending to the second bend of the ear canal. As with all acrylic customs, the shells are hard but comfortable when fitted correctly. If the earphones remain uncomfortable after an initial break-in period, a refit may be required
Sound (10/10) – Hidition’s lineup is notable for having not one but two six-driver flagships – the NT 6, which features a 4-way passive crossover, and the NT 6-PRO, which adds another crossover point for a 5-way setup. The PRO model promises enhanced bass, while the vanilla NT 6 is said to be more neutral.
The overall signature of the NT 6 is balanced, with a slight treble emphasis. The earphone impresses most with its bell-like clarity, but there’s a whole lot more to like. The bass is linear, with a small boost in the sub-bass region. The low end is a little leaner compared, for example, to the JH13 Pro and Westone ES5, but remains extremely tight and controlled at all times. Overall accuracy is great and the neutral bass quantity is very welcome, though perhaps a little surprising considering the triple bass drivers of the NT 6. One may expect more bass boost, but the low end of the NT 6 is punchy when it needs to be, otherwise staying out of the way.
The midrange is flat and level, boasting striking clarity and detail. There is no bass bleed and the mids are not in the least bit recessed. With nothing to get in the way of the midrange, detail resolution and overall definition are fantastic. Vocal intelligibility is excellent as well – better compared to the UM Miracle and Heir Audio 8.A, for example. Only the JH13 Pro competes in clarity, and even then its mild bass boost puts it at a slight disadvantage to the NT 6.
On the whole, the NT 6 is well-balanced aside from an upper treble bump, which gives it a characteristically brighter, cooler tone. It is not a forgiving earphone but, happily, the top-end emphasis falls above the 4-8 kHz range where sibilance typically originates, so the NT 6 does not introduce sibilance or harshness to recordings. Treble extension is excellent, contributing to an airy and open sound with entirely unconstrained dynamics.
The tight, clean sound of the NT 6 does wonders for the presentation of the earphone. The Hidition boasts a wide and spacious soundstage but does not lack in the way of a central image. Overall imaging is excellent, resulting in a convincing presentation, and while soundstage depth and layering aren’t quite on-par with the JH13Pro or UM Miracle, they are certainly close enough to compete.
JH Audio JH13 Pro Freqphase ($1099)
Like that of Hidition, JHA’s lineup offers two flagships, the 8-driver JH16 and the 6-driver JH13, and, like the NT 6, the JH13 is the more neutral-sounding of JHA's two flagships. For me, these two monitors are the cream of the crop – both impossibly clear and resolving, with very good imaging and lifelike presentations. The differences between them lie largely in sound signature, with the JH13 being very close to – but a pinch on the warm side of - neutral and the NT 6 being slightly bright.
While the low end of the NT 6 is extended, punchy, and dynamic, the Hidition just doesn’t crank out quite as much bass the JH13. Personally, I don’t find the low end of the JH13 excessive but the bass of the Hidition is flatter in profile and a little tighter as a result. The bassier JH13 carries a slightly warmer tone as well, though the mids on both earphones are completely free of veiling and fantastically clear. The NT 6 is brighter, with more emphasis on higher frequencies, but it also has a more fluid note presentation. On the soundstage front, the JH13 sounds a little more 3-dimensional and enveloping while the NT 6 has slightly less depth to it. The JH13Pro is significantly more sensitive.
Unique Melody Miracle ($949)
Unique Melody’s 6-driver flagship remains one of my favorite earphones even after more than two years of ownership. On the whole, it keeps up rather well with the NT 6. The NT 6 is overall brighter, crisper, and more resolving than the Miracle, with a flatter midrange presentation and better vocal intelligibility. Despite its cooler tone, the NT 6 has a bit more bass impact while the Miracle is a little softer and more polite.
The Miracle boasts smoother, more relaxed treble while the NT 6 has more energy, coupled with outstanding treble extension and a very wide and airy presentation. The Miracle, in comparison, is a little more constrained, with a narrower soundstage and slightly less dynamic overall sound. Like the JH13, it gives up some of the width of the NT 6 for better depth and a slightly more enveloping presentation, but unfortunately loses some of the effortlessness of the Hidition and JHA sets in the process.
Lime Ears LE3 (est. $690)
The LE3 from Poland-based Lime Ears may be a mere triple-driver, but it is the most balanced such setup I’ve heard. Compared to the Lime Ears, the much-pricier NT 6 has some advantages – its bass is both tighter and more impactful, and the earphone is a little clearer overall – but the difference on all counts is not night and day. Tonally, the LE3 has less treble emphasis for a more neutral overall sound compared to the brighter NT 6. Its treble is smoother, but also doesn’t quite have the extension of the Hidition. The presentation of the NT 6 is also larger and more dynamic, though the LE3 is no slouch itself.
Value (9/10) – The market has changed a lot since my first review of a high-end custom IEM, the UM Miracle, more than two years ago. The inception of a new breed of hyper-expensive universals and dozens of new CIEM companies from all around the world have made the market more crowded – and more confusing – than ever before. One thing is clear in trying to make sense of it all – sound signature remains the key to finding the perfect earphone, custom or otherwise, for every individual.
That said, the NT 6 is undoubtedly one of the very best earphones I’ve had the pleasure of trying, combining incredible clarity and resolution with tight, level bass and extended treble with plenty of energy. Top to bottom, the NT 6 does not lack presence at any frequency and is the ideal earphone for those who want accuracy, avoiding any and all bass bloat and providing a leaner sound with a neutral-to-bright tone. Hiditon’s excellent build quality, deep-sealing shells, and plethora of customization options are just icing on the cake.
Pros: Great finish; high isolation due to deep fit; outstanding audio quality
Cons: Cable more Microphonic than most custom cables
Sorry, not yet
It seems that I prefer a more v-shape sound. I think I'm going to get a Thinksound MS01 for $70. Is there any IEM's that might be a better fit for me? I need good comfort and good build quality as I'll be using it quite actively.