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Multi-IEM Review - 318 IEMs compared (NarMoo R1M added 07/03/14 p. 936) - Page 812

post #12166 of 14123

Hi Joker,

 

if you had to give the VSD1S/VSD1 a sound score what would it be? secondly, are the mids as recessed and treble as harsh as people say it is? and how good are these compared to the R02 Silver?


Edited by Jozurr - 11/26/13 at 2:18am
post #12167 of 14123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Izeekio View Post
 

Hi |joker|,

 

I have a question I feel you may be well equipped to answer due to your extensive experience with many headphones. I have MTPCs, and I know it's difficult to compare IEMs with Full-sized headphones...But do you think the sound signature difference between the MTPC and Sennheiser HD598 (open-circumaural; wide soundstage) would be expectedly drastic? I recently got my MTPCs back after they've been broken for a year and coming from the HD598s to the MTPCs have been quite shocking. It almost feels like the sound quality is so bad on the MTPCs that I'm wondering if it's damaged. It sounds so "muffled". I'm trying to get my brain to get used to these IEMs again. Could it be the ones with control talk have worse sound quality? I appreciate any wisdom or comments regarding this issue, but understand that you may not remember enough to compare the two. Thanks. 

 

I think between those two it will more be down to signature than headphone vs earphone. The MTPC is a warm, enhanced-bass unit while the HD598, from what I understand, is pretty balanced. I've never listened to it for an extended period of time, though, so I can't comment firsthand, but my guess is a balanced-sounding in-ear will sound better to you coming from an HD598.

 

Controltalk can only be a problem if you're using a device that doesn't support it and the 4-pole 3.5mm plug is not lining up properly with the headphone jack on your device. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jozurr View Post
 

Hi Joker,

 

if you had to give the VSD1S/VSD1 a sound score what would it be? secondly, are the mids as recessed and treble as harsh as people say it is? and how good are these compared to the R02 Silver?

 

Around the SteelSeries Flux level, +/- 0.1. It's a slightly v-shaped signature and like most VSonics the treble is not entirely smooth, so yes, I can see people saying that the treble is harsh and the mids are recessed. Then again, the same treble characteristic is a problem with the GR07 as well and it's well-loved at $100+, so it'll really depend on who you ask.

 

The R02 silver sounds very different - smoother treble, less enhanced and more rolled-off bass, and a bump in the upper midrange. It doesn't really sound like a VSonic product to be honest. 

post #12168 of 14123
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
 

 

I'd be curious as to your thoughts. Hopefully I'm not crazy with these - the few people who did buy them on my recommendation (at full price) seemed pleased, but there's certainly no hype or buzz or whatnot, which is almost too bad. I still use these with my phone because the MH1C's cable bugs me.  

 

You, sir are spot on with your review. Here are a few of your quotes that I agree with:

 

"The bass is not enhanced enough for the Flux to sound bloated – in fact, it is only a touch more boomy compared to the pricier and more neutral-sounding RE-400 and VSonic GR07"

 -I always look at the bass as how it's presented on the overall sound. I sense it as a half-step forward than the midrange.

 

"The midrange of the Flux is among clearest I’ve heard in the price range and maintains a neutral-to-warm tone."

 -Vocals are nice and clear. Nice.

 

"The top end is extended, has good energy, and sounds mostly smooth, with just a bit of grain compared to higher-end sets such as the Flux In-Ear Pro, UE 600, and HiFiMan RE-400"

 -I am enjoying the top end on the Flux. Less splashy than the GR07BE but still prominent enough to hear. Not sibilant to my ears.

 

My only negatives:

*the straight plug - I prefer L-plugs

*I'm not liking the sticky, rubbery cable. It would have been nice if it had the feel of the XBA-4 flat cable.

 

But overall, I like these especially at $25.

 

Thanks, Joker

post #12169 of 14123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by esteebin View Post
 

 

You, sir are spot on with your review. Here are a few of your quotes that I agree with:

 

"The bass is not enhanced enough for the Flux to sound bloated – in fact, it is only a touch more boomy compared to the pricier and more neutral-sounding RE-400 and VSonic GR07"

 -I always look at the bass as how it's presented on the overall sound. I sense it as a half-step forward than the midrange.

 

"The midrange of the Flux is among clearest I’ve heard in the price range and maintains a neutral-to-warm tone."

 -Vocals are nice and clear. Nice.

 

"The top end is extended, has good energy, and sounds mostly smooth, with just a bit of grain compared to higher-end sets such as the Flux In-Ear Pro, UE 600, and HiFiMan RE-400"

 -I am enjoying the top end on the Flux. Less splashy than the GR07BE but still prominent enough to hear. Not sibilant to my ears.

 

My only negatives:

*the straight plug - I prefer L-plugs

*I'm not liking the sticky, rubbery cable. It would have been nice if it had the feel of the XBA-4 flat cable.

 

But overall, I like these especially at $25.

 

Thanks, Joker

 

Thanks, appreciate the impressions. Glad you like them :beerchug:

 

To be honest there's very few flat cables I actually like. The Sony ones are good, as is the one on the Moe SS01 (but it's so narrow it barely qualifies as a flat cable at all). More often than not they are a nuisance and sometimes add unnecessary weight to the earphones. 

post #12170 of 14123

joker,

 

what would you reccomend as an upgrade to a brainwavz B2/ fischer audio dba 02 ?

looking for IEMs with good clarity. my current b2 is a little loose on the right ear as a slight touch on the wire would cause a disturbance / loss in sound momentarily.

 

many thanks

post #12171 of 14123
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
 

 

Thanks, appreciate the impressions. Glad you like them :beerchug:

 

To be honest there's very few flat cables I actually like. The Sony ones are good, as is the one on the Moe SS01 (but it's so narrow it barely qualifies as a flat cable at all). More often than not they are a nuisance and sometimes add unnecessary weight to the earphones. 


The Onkyo IE-FC300 has a very good quality flat cable as does part of the Torque t103z.  Of course neither earphone can be worn over the ears but I find the flat cables help to minimize microphonics and give the appearance of long term strength.

post #12172 of 14123
Quote:
Originally Posted by suman134 View Post
 

 

    you can opt for xb90ex , they have deep , thumping bass , may not have huge bass , but satisfying .


which IEMs do have huge bass? jvc fx1x/3x?

post #12173 of 14123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by th3answer View Post
 

joker,

 

what would you reccomend as an upgrade to a brainwavz B2/ fischer audio dba 02 ?

looking for IEMs with good clarity. my current b2 is a little loose on the right ear as a slight touch on the wire would cause a disturbance / loss in sound momentarily.

 

many thanks

 

Depends on what you would like to see (hear?) different from your B2 and how much you spend. If you're happy with the sound of the B2 you can't really "upgrade" too far as those are already top-tier earphones. You can get an Ety ER4S for a slightly different balance and the ultimate clarity but I can't really call it a full-blown "upgrade" either. Or you can just a VC1000 from VSonic for a similar but not identical alternative to the B2 at ~$125.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviltooth View Post
 


The Onkyo IE-FC300 has a very good quality flat cable as does part of the Torque t103z.  Of course neither earphone can be worn over the ears but I find the flat cables help to minimize microphonics and give the appearance of long term strength.

 

My Onkyo IEMs have a clear-coated cable with a round cross section. It's very microphonic :frown:

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5fteleven View Post
 


which IEMs do have huge bass? jvc fx1x/3x?

 

Not sure about the FX3X but the FX1X definitely does, as does the FX101.

post #12174 of 14123
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
 

 

Depends on what you would like to see (hear?) different from your B2 and how much you spend. If you're happy with the sound of the B2 you can't really "upgrade" too far as those are already top-tier earphones. You can get an Ety ER4S for a slightly different balance and the ultimate clarity but I can't really call it a full-blown "upgrade" either. Or you can just a VC1000 from VSonic for a similar but not identical alternative to the B2 at ~$125.

 

 

 

My Onkyo IEMs have a clear-coated cable with a round cross section. It's very microphonic :frown:

 

 

 

 

Not sure about the FX3X but the FX1X definitely does, as does the FX101.

Your Onkyo cables are the more expensive, premium variety.  The 3 other colours (red, violet and white) are flat and minimally microphonic.

post #12175 of 14123
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5fteleven View Post
 


which IEMs do have huge bass? jvc fx1x/3x?


fx1x has bigger bass obviously , but boomy .

post #12176 of 14123
Thread Starter 

Added Noble 4S :etysmile:

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
 

 

(1A13) Noble 4S

 

Reviewed November 2013

 

Details: 4-driver silicone-shelled CIEM from Noble Audio, a CA-based CIEM company run by The Wizard and team, previously of Heir Audio fame
Starting Price: $999 from nobleaudio.com
Specs: Driver: 4 BA / 3-way crossover | Imp: >30Ω | Cable: 4′ 45-degree plug
Wear Style: Over-the-ear

Accessories (4/5) – Cleaning tool, Noble Audio stickers and wristbands, and padded hard-shell storage case
Build Quality (5/5) – It’s safe to say that Heir Audio’s legendary aesthetic flair has carried over to Noble, because the 4S unit I have on hand here is simply stunning. To escape the artwork limitations of silicone shells, Noble has fitted their silicone customs with acrylic faceplates, which allow full customization. Attention to detail is excellent, down to the neat Noble logos printed on the sides of the housings. The internal setup of the quad-driver 4S is dual low, single mid, and single high with a dual bore configuration. The earphones use a conventional two-pin socket and come with a Westone ES-style cable, but orders placed with Noble’s US office will instead ship with an upgraded cable that has a longer memory wire section, a 45-degree plug, and is braided below the y-split akin to the Heir Magnus-1 cable. This new cable also works with smartphone cases a little better as a result of its plug being narrower
Isolation (5/5) – The isolation of the silicone shells is excellent, falling just behind my most-isolating custom, the Spiral Ear 3-way Reference
Microphonics (5/5) – Nonexistent
Comfort (5/5) – The silicone shells of the Noble earphones take slightly longer to insert and remove compared to more rigid and slippery acrylic shells but are extremely comfortable once fitted and maintain seal a bit better with changes to the ear canal shape, such as while chewing or talking. Being a custom monitor, the comfort is highly dependent on the quality of the initial impressions and final mold, and if the earphones remain uncomfortable after an initial break-in period a re-fit is probably a good idea. Noble performs refits at no charge within 30 days

Sound (9.9/10) – I freely admit to being a sucker for a pretty face(plate), one of my few character flaws. As expected, I was immediately enamored with the appearance of my Noble 4S, so it’s safe to say I would have been doubly disappointed had it turned out to sound–well–disappointing. Happily, the 4S sounds rather good, with a neutral and natural sound that is, on the whole, more balanced compared to my other high-end customs.

The bass of the Noble 4S works for me in both quality and quantity – it is not the most plentiful in the subbass region, giving up a bit of depth to sets such as the UM Miracle and Westone ES5, but it has a nice, healthy, balanced punch akin to the Miracle and HiFiMan RE-400. The Noble 4S is definitely not an enhanced-bass earphone but there’s a lot to like about the clean, natural low end. The 4S is less bassy than the VSonic GR07, for example, but its low end is tighter and cleaner.

The midrange of the Noble 4S is very flat and neutral in tone. It makes both the Miracle and GR07 sound a little mid-recessed and appears a touch clearer as a result. Next to the smooth and liquid-sounding Miracle, the midrange of the 4S is more transparent and has a “raw” quality to it. The midrange is also where the Noble differs most from entry-level and mid-tier customs – even neutral-sounding ones like the Alclair Reference and Lime Ears LE3 can’t match the clarity of the 4S. Note thickness and clarity always make for a precarious balancing act and the 4S performs as well as any other earphone I’ve heard on this front, making the Etymotic ER4S sound a touch thin without yielding to it in clarity.

Moving through the upper midrange, the 4S remains very smooth and pleasant. It has a little less upper midrange presence than, for example, the Ety ER4S but overall the sound is very close. In fact, out of all the universal monitors I used in my comparisons, the ER4S was closest to the Noble in tone and balance. The Noble 4S has very smooth treble, too – it definitely isn’t lacking in treble energy but also isn’t as revealing of harshness or as critical of recording quality as, for example, the UE Reference Monitor and JH Audio JH13. The GR07 sounds quite splashy in comparison while the Etymotic ER4S is more similar, but still a touch brighter than the Noble. The presentation of the 4S is open and airy. Soundstage size is good – about on-par with the Heir 8.A and Hidition NT 6 customs and more spacious and open compared to the less expensive Lime Ears LE3 – and overall imaging is just short of the JH Audio JH13.

Select Comparisons 

HiFiMan RE-400 ($99) 

The RE-400 is one of my favorite earphones in the sub-$200 range, pursuing a balanced, slightly mid-focused sound signature with very smooth treble. While the RE-400 is a touch on the warm side of neutral, the Noble 4S is balanced out by its brighter, more energetic treble. The bass of the two earphones is similar in impact but the Noble is tighter and resolves detail better in the bass region. The midrange, where the RE-400’s focus lies, sounds veiled with the HiFiMan set compared to the 4S.

The treble of the RE-400, too, is dull and lacks crispness in comparison, causing it to sound muffled next to the crystal-clear Noble. The brighter Noble is nonetheless very smooth-sounding when it comes to treble and has a wider presentation as well, making the RE-400 sound a bit small and in-the-head. There is, of course, a tenfold price difference between these two earphones and much less than a tenfold difference in performance, but, great as the RE-400 is, it can’t keep up here.

VSonic VC1000 ($125) 

Another relatively inexpensive universal monitor, the VC1000 uses dual balanced armature drivers and actually makes for a better matchup against the Noble than the RE-400. For the most part, the VC1000 can compete with the Noble in clarity but has a leaner sound and its bass lacks the tactile impact of the Noble. The Noble sounds more natural when it comes to bass impact and body. The Noble also has a thicker note presentation and fuller sound. While the earphones are similarly balanced overall, the Noble is smoother and more natural. The VC1000 sounds splashy in comparison and has a narrower, more in-the-head presentation. Overall, the signatures of these two earphones are a pretty good match and the Noble can be considered a VC1000 upgrade quite easily.

1964EARS V6-Stage ($699)

The V6-Stage is one of 1964EARS’ flagship earphones and provides a nicely balanced sound. The Noble 4S pursues a different type of reference signature. For one, it has less bass – the bass extension is similar between the two earphones but the V6-Stage has more impact and its sound signature is on the whole warmer and more colored than that of the Noble. The Noble, on the other hand is flatter and more neutral, and is much more forgiving of sibilance than the V6-Stage. The 4S also has a broader soundstage and provides a slightly airier, more spacious presentation than the 1964EARS set.

Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor (UERM) Universal Demo ($999)

The quad-driver, silicone-shelled Noble is different from my other “reference” custom IEMs mostly in that its sound is more mid-centric. Sets like the JH13, UERM, V6-Stage, and even the Miracle tend to have more bass and stronger, more energetic treble than the Noble. The 4S, on the other hand, reminds me of HiFiMan earphones in the way it presents a neutral signature in a more mid-centric way without masking detail. It sounds very flat, with less bass compared to the UERM and a more neutral tone. The Noble is an amazingly smooth earphone that makes the UERM seem a little peaky in the treble region. Tonally, the 4S makes the UERM sound a little colored – no small feat by any means. In comparison to the more level Noble, the UE Reference Monitor has a bassier sound and added treble energy.

JH Audio JH13 Pro ($1099)

JH Audio’s 6-driver model is rather neutral and balanced save for a small bass bump. The 4S differs from it in sound signature more so than performance. On the whole, the 4S sounds more neutral to me. The JH13 is a little warmer and has more bass impact and depth. It is also a bit more full-sounding as a result, which makes its outstanding clarity all the more impressive. The 4S sounds more mid-centric – unlike the JH13 and most of my other custom IEMs, the 4S is not even a little v-shaped in signature. Moving on up, the JH13 has more treble sparkle while the 4S is smoother and more forgiving. Personally, I don’t find either the bass or treble of the JH13 excessive, but the neutrality of the 4S appeals to me a great deal. Lastly, due in part to its deeper and more powerful bass, the JH13 sounds a touch more dynamic overall and provides a more layered presentation but the Noble is quite close here as well.

Hidition NT 6 ($1200)

While the JH13 is a neutral-sounding monitor with a bit of added bass, the Hidition NT 6 leans the opposite way – towards a brighter sound with a cooler tonal character. The triple bass drivers of the NT 6 grant it better bass extension with more emphasis on subbass compared to the Noble 4S but mid-bass impact is similar – neither earphone suffers from elevated mid-bass. The 4S does have a bit more presence in the lower midrange, giving it a fuller, slightly warmer sound, very similar to the “neutral” tone of the HiFiMan RE-400. Overall, the 4S sounds a little mid-focused but also very natural and neutral. The NT 6, in comparison, has less prominent mids and can at times appear a touch clearer thanks to its brighter tone. Lastly, the treble of the 4S is more forgiving but remains just as clean and resolving as that of the NT 6.

Heir Audio 8.A ($1299)

Heir Audio’s 8-driver flagship is a warm and smooth affair, with endlessly extended bass and very non-fatiguing treble. Compared to the Noble 4S, the 8.A is significantly warmer and more bottom-heavy. It has quite a bit more bass, especially deep bass, providing a more visceral and tactile experience. However, even next to the bassy Heir, the 4S doesn’t sound anemic or thin and the bottom end. The 4S is more neutral in the midrange and brighter at the top. The treble of the darker-sounding 8.A is even smoother and more forgiving than that of the Noble, which is great news for those whose greatest audio-related fear is the potential for listening fatigue. Overall, aside from the huge difference in bass quantity, there are quite a lot of commonalities between these two earphones but the more neutral and accurate Noble appeals to me quite a bit more.

Value (9/10) – The Noble 4S is a neutral-sounding monitor that is, on the whole, more balanced than the other “reference” customs I have here. Its ultra-smooth, slightly mid-focused sound invokes impressions of a cross between Etymotic Research and HiFiMan universals and makes it a direct upgrade to certain other custom-fit sets, such as the Clear Tune Monitors CT-200 and Lime Ears LE3.

The aesthetics of the Noble 4S are reminiscent of Heir Audio – that is to say, fantastic – with the Wizard continuing to experiment with new looks and materials, and the comfort and isolation of the silicone shells are second to none. All in all, the 4S is one of the very few earphones I can’t find much to complain about with, and that alone makes it worth recommending.

Pros: Very clear, neutral, and natural sound; excellent fit, finish, and design; superb comfort and noise isolation of silicone
Cons: N/A

 

The updated IEM ranking can be found here.

post #12177 of 14123

Hey joker!
Does your Westone 3 impressions/score still stand?
Wondering how well they would do with EDM now that they are discounted pretty heavily... Or do the EPH-100 outperform them is that regard?

post #12178 of 14123
Quote:
Originally Posted by nehcrow View Post
 

Hey joker!
Does your Westone 3 impressions/score still stand?
Wondering how well they would do with EDM now that they are discounted pretty heavily... Or do the EPH-100 outperform them is that regard?

Most people would say the Westone 3 is better than EPH-100, I bought them yesterday for $179, great deal.

post #12179 of 14123

Excellent review ljokerl :beerchug:

 

One of the most beautiful sets available today.

 

Among the top tier which would be the best for some classic rock and jazz?

post #12180 of 14123
Hey joker, any plan to add Tralucent 1Plus2 in your list?
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