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Multi-IEM Review - 314 IEMs compared (Olasonic Flat-4 Nami added 04/13/14 p. 894) - Page 521

post #7801 of 13449
Edit: damn, one of my Turbine's screens is missing... doesn't sound like did anything SQ though...

Okay, so I shortened the tips, and it made it better in the treble, but still too muffled for my liking. Looks like I may have to stick to the Sony Hybrids, and deal with the comfrt loss. They are still better than the stock tips.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 8/3/12 at 10:15pm
post #7802 of 13449
Thread Starter 

Added Final Audio FI-BA-SB Heaven S and FI-BA-SA Heaven A. Huge thanks to james444 for the loaners!

 

Also, updated link to downloadable comparison chart for those who like to play with the numbers. The chart is now current as of 07/23/2012. It can be downloaded here and is provided by carfentanil.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post

(1C17) Final Audio Design FI-BA-SB “Heaven S”

1000

Added June 2012


Details: Distinctive brass-shelled monitor from Final Audio’s BA line
Current Price: $379 from musicaacoustics.com
Specs: Driver: BA | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 112 dB | Freq: N/A | Cable: 4.6' L-plug
Nozzle Size: 4.5mm | Preferred tips: MEElec M6 bi-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (3.5/5) - Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes) and oversize zippered carrying case
Build Quality (4/5) – The FI-BA-SB is solidly constructed, with long, rounded metal shells and a flat cable with matching – albeit minimal - strain reliefs. The flat cable is thicker than those found on the other FI-BA earphones but lacks a cinch
Isolation (4/5) – Good with the stock single-flanges and even better with aftermarket tips
Microphonics (4/5) – Noise in the flat cable is a little higher than with the thinner cords of the BA-SS and BA-SA but still low even with cable-down wear
Comfort (4/5) – The housings of the BA-SB are on the heavy side but the flat cables don’t hinder over-the-ear wear and the fit is easy-going on the whole

Sound (9/10) – The team at Final Audio Design has never been known to follow convention, and the sound of the FI-BA-SB is highly atypical of an armature-based earphone. Bass is plentiful - for a BA, the BA-SB is punchy and aggressive. It’s not subbass-heavy but has good extension with minimal bloat. Compared to most earphones with similar bass quantity, the BA-SB sounds very quick and clean, though some of the better dynamics, such as the VSonic GR07 and Sony MDR-7550, offer a more natural note presentation and more realistic bass. Compared to the typical TWFK-based earphone – the VSonic GR01, for example - the BA-SB has greater bass quantity at the expense of some of the delicacy, control, and fine detailing that TWFK-based sets are known for. The same goes for comparing it to the Etymotic ER4S or HiFiMan RE272.

The midrange of the FI-BA-SB is smooth and a touch warm compared to flatter sets such as the ER4S and GR01. Like the bass, the mids are forward and aggressive. Overall, the BA-SB sounds colored and boasts a very vivid, lively sound. It makes the Monster MD Trumpet, a respectable performer in every way, sound veiled with its more laid-back mids and softer, slower note presentation. The FI-BA-SB, on the other hand, while neither neutral in tone nor particularly refined, is very resolving, raw, and ‘honest’ in its sound.

The treble of the BA-SB is laid-back compared to the midrange. It remains clear and resolving and the drop in emphasis compared to the mids reminds me of the Fischer Audio SBA-03. It is not as bright or airy as the pricier BA-SS model or dual-driver sets such as the VSonic GR01 and Audio-Technica CK10. At the same time, despite the lower overall treble energy, the BA-SB is not as smooth as the GR01 or HiFiMan RE272, even appearing a touch grainy at times.

The soundstage of the FI-BA-SB is below average in width – narrower than those of the GR01, CK10, and RE272. The general forwardness causes the earphones to lean towards intimacy but the presentation has decent depth to it. Dynamics are impressive for a BA-based earphone and imaging is good enough, providing a well-rounded sonic presentation. Sets that sound more airy and spacious – the VSonic GR01 and GR07, for example – won’t appeal nearly as well those who prefer aggressive, forward sound. Conversely, those who prefer an out-of-the-head presentation may find the sound of the FADs overly small and congested.

It is also worth noting that the BA-SB is an incredibly sensitive earphone, achieving louder volumes than almost anything else out there and hissing noticeably with many amps and sources.

Value (8/10) – In typical FAD fashion, the striking brass shells of the FI-BA-SB house a conventional single BA setup that sounds anything but. It is punchy, aggressive, and dynamic, delivering a vivid sonic image in place of the neutral tone and flat response often expected of armature-based monitors. The design of the earphones is decidedly hit or miss, however, with good isolation and a very solid feel to the housings counterbalancing the lack of proper strain relief, above-average weight, and sparse fit kit. One thing is certain – in terms of bang/buck, the BA-SB makes mincemeat of the higher-end SS model.

Pros: Uniquely colored, lively sound from a single BA
Cons: Minimal strain relief, weighty housings


Huge thanks to james444 for loaning me the Final Audio Heaven A, C, and S


(1C18) Final Audio Design FI-BA-SA “Heaven C”

1000

Added Aug 2012

Details: Latest addition to FAD’s BA line; replaces the outgoing BA-A1
Current Price: $299 from musicaacoustics.com
Specs: Driver: BA | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 112 dB | Freq: N/A | Cable: 4.6' L-plug
Nozzle Size: 4.5mm | Preferred tips: MEElec M6 bi-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (3.5/5) - Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes) and oversize zippered carrying case
Build Quality (4/5) – The Final Audio FI-BA-SA is very similar in construction to the BA-SB model with more lightweight chromed shells and thinner cabling more akin to that of the $1100 FI-BA-SS. The cable is very soft and smooth but thinner than average and more tangle-prone compared to the flat cable of the BA-SB. Strain relief is still minimal but a cable cinch is present
Isolation (4/5) – Good with the stock single-flanges and even better with aftermarket tips
Microphonics (4.5/5) – Though thin, the cable is nearly silent even in the cord-down configuration
Comfort (4.5/5) – The housings of the BA-SA are much lighter than those of the BA-SB. The cabling is more flexible and comes complete with a cinch to make over-the-ear wear easier. On the whole, their featherlike weight pushes these FADs into don-and-forget territory

Sound (9/10) – The sound of FI-BA-SA is quite similar to that of its brass sibling and virtually identical to the now-defunct FI-BA-A1. Overall, its signature is a touch less colored than that of the BA-SB but mostly falls in the same vein. Compared to the SB model, the BA-SA has slightly more linear bass – there is still more mid-bass than a VSonic GR01 or Ety ER4 might have but the difference is just great enough to give the SA a slight advantage in definition over the SB. The SA also remains flatter through the lower mids for a slightly more neutral tone and less fullness, though it retains the forward presentation and overall clarity of the BA-SB.

The top end of the SA is again not overly prominent, taking a small step back compared to the bass and midrange. It is clear and resolving but gives up a touch of the brightness and energy of the SB model. The result is a marginally smoother and more restrained sound that loses some the crispness and excitement of the SB. It does, however, make gains in smoothness, keeping up with the VSonic GR01 even on poorly mastered recordings.

The soundstage of the BA-SA remains unchanged – it is below average in width and tends towards forwardness and intimacy. Depth is decent enough and dynamics are good but the SA will still sound congested compared to a HiFiMan RE272 or Sony MDR-7550. The SA also retains extremely high sensitivity – clearly there is no question that these were designed to be used with portable players.

Value (8/10) – The FI-BA-SA is a slightly more conservative version of the FI-BA-SB, both in sound and appearance. Physical differences include lighter housings and thinner cables, giving the SA a slightly less solid feel but better long-term comfort and lower microphonics. The sound, too, is potentially less polarizing than that of the SB model, but also less lively and interesting. Technically, the SA may be the more accurate earphone but simply I couldn’t help reaching for the warmer, punchier, and more exotic FI-BA-SB most of the time.

Pros: Extremely lightweight construction, low microphonics, competent sound
Cons: Minimal strain relief, stringy cables, weighty housings


Huge thanks to james444 for loaning me the Final Audio Heaven A, C, and S

post #7803 of 13449

man , really , weighty ? i think heavy is easy .wink.gif . the price is a bit high man .
 

post #7804 of 13449

Great review as always! FAD is overpriced and outmatched by lower priced competitors. Can't wait for your review on the MDR-7550. I hear it might make a good companion with my Hifiman RE262 since i love great mids :D

post #7805 of 13449

I'm really excited to hear your thoughts about the newer Sunrise stuff. Given your last review on the Xcape, one of their newer IEMs may be my next purchase

 

Also, have you heard the Vsonic GR04 at all? Vsonic's ridiculous name changes makes finding comparisons to the GR06 near impossible. Evidently, the contemporary version is not the same as the Flagship, which may have edged out the GR06. Anyway, I'm at a bit of a loss, but leaning toward the GR06, would love to hear your thoughts on the GR04, if you have any.


Edited by scootsit - 8/4/12 at 1:59am
post #7806 of 13449

What would you say is the best bassy IEM in the 100 dollar price range.

post #7807 of 13449
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidisawesome View Post

What would you say is the best bassy IEM in the 100 dollar price range.

maybe shure SE215 :O

post #7808 of 13449

meelec a161 / fischer audio sba-3 . or high sound crystal .
 

post #7809 of 13449

Sony MDR-XB90EX.

post #7810 of 13449

Joker, what do you think
 

post #7811 of 13449
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phantompersona View Post

Great review as always! FAD is overpriced and outmatched by lower priced competitors. Can't wait for your review on the MDR-7550. I hear it might make a good companion with my Hifiman RE262 since i love great mids :D

 

I don't know if I would be comfortable calling something as unique as the FADs 'overpriced', which is why their value scores are reasonably high. I can see myself recommending them to someone even at those prices if the signature is a match. Can't say the same for a Sony XBA-4 or B&W C5, for example. 

 

The 7550 is an interesting earphone, I rather like it. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by scootsit View Post

I'm really excited to hear your thoughts about the newer Sunrise stuff. Given your last review on the Xcape, one of their newer IEMs may be my next purchase

 

Also, have you heard the Vsonic GR04 at all? Vsonic's ridiculous name changes makes finding comparisons to the GR06 near impossible. Evidently, the contemporary version is not the same as the Flagship, which may have edged out the GR06. Anyway, I'm at a bit of a loss, but leaning toward the GR06, would love to hear your thoughts on the GR04, if you have any.

 

I already reviewed the Xcited and Xcape IE in a separate thread but they broke before I could add them to this review and I haven't managed to get a replacement yet. 

 

I've never heard any of the GR04s.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidisawesome View Post

Joker, what do you think
 

 

It's not a very specific question. Depends on whether you're looking for quality or quantity, mid-bass or sub-bass (or a balance of the two), how much you're willing to sacrifice elsewhere etc. The SE215, for example, is nice and punchy but it doesn't have the ridiculous impact of something like an XB40EX or MEElec M31. The Hippo VB has great extension and rumble but again doesn't move a whole lot of air compared to an XB40. The VSonic GR02 Bass Edition is one of the better bass-heavy earphones I've heard without being a bass monster, but it's got a v-shaped signature some may not like.

post #7812 of 13449
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post

 

I don't know if I would be comfortable calling something as unique as the FADs 'overpriced', which is why their value scores are reasonably high. I can see myself recommending them to someone even at those prices if the signature is a match. Can't say the same for a Sony XBA-4 or B&W C5, for example. 

 

The 7550 is an interesting earphone, I rather like it. 

 

 

I already reviewed the Xcited and Xcape IE in a separate thread but they broke before I could add them to this review and I haven't managed to get a replacement yet. 

 

I've never heard any of the GR04s.

 

 

It's not a very specific question. Depends on whether you're looking for quality or quantity, mid-bass or sub-bass (or a balance of the two), how much you're willing to sacrifice elsewhere etc. The SE215, for example, is nice and punchy but it doesn't have the ridiculous impact of something like an XB40EX or MEElec M31. The Hippo VB has great extension and rumble but again doesn't move a whole lot of air compared to an XB40. The VSonic GR02 Bass Edition is one of the better bass-heavy earphones I've heard without being a bass monster, but it's got a v-shaped signature some may not like.


Thank you sir for the info!

post #7813 of 13449

Would like to get a pair of in-ears with the same sound signature as my primary headphones Denon Ah-d7000.My price target is below 200 $.  They are going to be used with Sandisk sansa clip+ and galaxy nexus. I mainly listen to house-music while on the go, so good bass is important. Any suggestions?  

post #7814 of 13449
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post

I've never heard the Brainwavz M4. Also, it's hard to say which of the IEMs will be durable for several years. partly because it depends heavily on how you treat them. I had a pair of RE0s for over a year and they still looked and sounded like new when I sold them. Others have had trouble getting six months' use out them. 

 

Having to have a mic really narrows things down. The HF2/3 is very good and certainly can compete with the best in the price range. However, I am not sure what mid-bass level you consider reasonable - the HF2/3 has no mid-bass boost. An alternative would be to buy the Phonak Perfect Bass (022) and an additional filter pack to turn them into 122s if necessary. 

 

If you drop the mic requirement, there's tons of options. The RE262 might not be heavy enough on the treble and the B2 might not have enough bass but the GR07, FXT90, or EPH-100 should be fine. The EPH-100 will have more mid-bass than the GR07 and potentially less fatiguing treble, It also isolates a lot. 

 

OK since Im not perfect in technical stuff. I would just like to have an upgraded version of MEE M6 with good bass, mid-bass, warm mids and highs should be as comfortable as possible. 

 

FXT90 is not over ear so I could remove from consideration(I hate straight down) . EPH-100 seems to have cable microphonics ,build quality issues and also some fit and comfort issues. Else it also looks good.

 

It looks like all options are closing on RE 262,GR 07 without mic and phonak 122 with mic. I am also looking on taking RE 262, but I heard that it needs some powering with an amp or driving or something. All I have is an android phone (both Samsung Galaxy Y and S3), I know nothing about amps and stuff, which of GR 07/RE 262 would be good to buy for my needs? Does buying RE262 needs some technical knowledge ? Since both you and ClieOS rated 262 over 07 and Im wondering whats so special about it blink.gif

post #7815 of 13449

My RE262s finally arrived, and they sound amazing. basshead.gif  Unamped, they really drain the J3 though... too bad it sounds better out of the J3 to me then it does from the Fiio E5.

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