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Multi-IEM Review - 318 IEMs compared (NarMoo R1M added 07/03/14 p. 936) - Page 828

post #12406 of 14100
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
 

 

May I ask why you chose the X10 over the TF10 and EPH-100 in the long run? Might help figure out if the PFE 232 or IE 800 is the right step for you, or if a similarly-priced custom or other earphone would be better. Also, the IE 800 really doesn't isolate a whole lot, especially since it sounds best with a shallow seal. 

 

 

I ultimately chose the X10 over the others primarily based off fit and comfort. I could never get a good seal/fit with the TF10 and EPH-100. I think out of all the ones I've tried I liked the sound signature of the EPH-100 and the JVC FXZ-200. But for me comfortability is a pretty high priority for me. I was also wondering if there are other IEMs I should be looking at in that price range. Thanks!

post #12407 of 14100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AznInvasion138 View Post
 

 

I ultimately chose the X10 over the others primarily based off fit and comfort. I could never get a good seal/fit with the TF10 and EPH-100. I think out of all the ones I've tried I liked the sound signature of the EPH-100 and the JVC FXZ-200. But for me comfortability is a pretty high priority for me. I was also wondering if there are other IEMs I should be looking at in that price range. Thanks!

 

Makes sense, because the EPH-100 is the one I'd have recommended based on your request. Haven't heard the FXZ-200 though. 

 

Unfortunately most high-end IEMs don't have a form factor as nice as that of the X10, and those that do lack the enhanced bass. The PFE232 is one of the rare exceptions, but it's also quite a bit brighter than the X10 unless you use the green filters (which I'm not a huge fan of). Anyway, wearing comfort alone pretty much eliminates all of the other options I can think of in terms of X10 upgrades, so the PFE 232 might just be it. Of the other IEMs you mentioned in your last post, I haven't tried the SE846 but the IE 800 has pretty low isolation. 

post #12408 of 14100
Thread Starter 

Added the In-Ear StageDiver 2 and StageDiver 3. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post

 

 

(1B10) InEar StageDiver 2 (SD-2)

 

Reviewed December 2013

 

Details: dual-driver custom-inspired earphone from German in-ear monitoring experts InEar

MSRP: 359,00€ (est. $495)

Current Price: $450 from otojoyiem.com (USA) 345€ from thomann.de (Europe)

Specs: Driver: Dual BA | Imp: 40Ω | Sens: 119 dB | Freq: 20-18k Hz | Cable: 4.6' L-plug

Nozzle Size: 4.5mm | Preferred tips: Stock single-flanges, MEElec M6 bi-flanges

Wear Style: Over-the-ear

 

Accessories (4.5/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), hearing aid cleansing wipes (3 sets), ¼” adapter, and crushproof hard shell pelican carrying case with carabiner

Build Quality (5/5) – The StageDiver earphones are designed for longevity in professional applications and utilize extremely solid-feeling acrylic housings. Nozzles are protected by color-coded, interchangeable filters. Replacement filters can be purchased separately and come in sets of 15 pairs, complete with storage carousel and filter changing tool. The cable is sturdy and detachable, in the common 2-pin configuration

Isolation (4/5) – Very good even with the stock single-flange eartips

Microphonics (5/5) – No noise in the flexible twisted cable

Comfort (3.5/5) – The housings of the StageDiver earphones were designed based on an overlay of over 500 ear impression scans. The shape is very unique, even among “universalized” custom in-ears, because the shell extends into upper part of the concha. This provides an extremely secure and stable fit but with smaller ears the concha “fin” can exert some pressure on the ear, so I would recommend trying before buying for those with small ears

 

Sound (9.3/10) – The StageDiver 2 uses a 2-way, dual-armature configuration. Unlike its triple-driver sibling, the SD-2 is tuned for a balanced sound and impresses first and foremost with its impressive end-to-end extension.

 

The bass of the SD-2 is very level, offering slightly more overall presence than sets such as the Etymotic ER4S and VSonic VC1000. Compared to these, the SD-2 has a warmer tone, a-la HiFiMan’s RE-400, but still sounds pretty neutral overall. Its bass has very natural punch and excellent extension, maintaining presence all the way down.

 

The midrange of the SD-2 is well-positioned, coming across as neither recessed nor forward. Thanks to the natural and fleshed-out low end, the SD-2 never sounds mid-centric the way the HiFiMan RE-400 sometimes can. The StageDiver set also has more natural bass impact and depth than the Custom Art Music One while maintaining similar clarity and note thickness. The added bass makes the SD-2 appear less mid-focused than the Music One, but the note thickness keeps it from sounding mid-recessed or lacking midrange presence.

 

The top end of the SD-2 maintains a good balance of presence and smoothness. It’s not as bright as dual-driver earphones based on the Knowles TWFK driver, such as the Fischer Audio DBA-02 and VSonic VC1000, and as a result is not at all prone to harshness or sibilance. At the same time, it isn’t lacking in extension and has decent energy, resulting in a more balanced treble presentation than, for example, with the RE-400. For me personally, a little more treble energy wouldn’t be a negative but the SD-2 follows a treble curve that’s safe and comfortable, staying true to its stage-friendly name by avoiding listening fatigue.

 

The presentation of the StageDiver 2 is above average in size, reminding me of the EarSonics SM64. Both width and depth are excellent and the earphones sound very cohesive and natural, no doubt a result of the solid end-to-end extension and clarity across the entire frequency spectrum. Stereo imaging doesn’t leave anything to complain about, either.

 

Select Compasisons

 

InEar StageDiver 3 ($590)

 

The two StageDiver models share a very strong family resemblance – in fact, it’s tough to pick the better earphone between the two of them. The triple-driver SD-3 offers more bass presence, which is especially noticeable in the subbass region. Its bass is extremely deep and provides some of the best impact I’ve heard from a universal-fit BA earphone without giving up any bass quality to the SD-2. The SD-2, in comparison, has less punch, as well as less rumble and power.

 

As a result of the added bass presence, the SD-3 sounds a little warmer overall. The SD-2, on the other hand, appears a touch clearer and more neutral. Its presentation is less thick and full-bodied compared to the SD-3 but I found its balance to produce a more natural sound. Tonally, the SD-2 is a little brighter due to its lack of bass bias. The soundstages of the two earphones are very similar with the SD-3 sometimes sounding a little more forward and aggressive thanks to its bass emphasis and slightly more present lower mids.

 

HiFiMan RE-400 ($99)

 

The RE-400, a sub-$100 dynamic-driver earphone, is highly reminiscent of the StageDiver 2 in sound signature, though there is a substantial gap in performance in favor of the SD-2. The SD-2 has a touch more bass than the RE-400, with the difference being more apparent in the subbass region. It is also clearer and slightly more resolving, and boasts more treble energy while still remaining extremely smooth and non-fatiguing, beating HiFiMan at their own game. The RE-400, on the other hand, has more forward mids and sounds a little too focused on its midrange. The soundstage of the RE-400 also appears a little too forward and flat next to the spacious and well-layered StageDiver.

 

VSonic GR07 ($179)

 

Comparing the SD-2 to the GR07, one of my favorite sets in its price range, leaves no doubt as to the StageDiver’s superiority. Most apparent is that the SD-2 produces a clearer sound with tighter bass. The GR07 sounds bassier, with mids that appear recessed in comparison. The treble of the GR07 sounds splashy and exaggerates sibilance whereas the SD-2 is much smoother. Overall, the SD-2 sounds more neutral and more natural, making the GR07 seem colored in comparison.

 

Clear Tune Monitors CT-200 ($350)

 

The CT-200 is a dual-driver custom-fit monitor from Florida-based Clear Tune Monitors. The most noticeable difference between the SD-2 and CT-200 is in bass performance – the bass of the StageDiver is greater in quantity, extends much better into the sub-bass region, and sounds a great deal more effortless. The CT-200 lacks the more natural bass impact of the SD-2. In the midrange, the CT-200 sounds a touch clearer and has more presence in the upper mids. The SD-2 has less upper midrange presence and a darker overall tone. The CT-200 also has a slightly wider headstage, sounding more out-of-the-head overall.

 

Alclair Reference ($399)

 

The Alclair Reference is a 3-driver custom monitor with a “reference” sound signature. In many ways its performance is comparable to that of the SD-2 – bass quantity is about on par and while the Reference has slightly more recessed mids, clarity is similar between the two except at high volumes, where the Reference wins out. Tonally, the Reference is brighter and more peaky compared to the very smooth StageDiver. Its treble is hotter and more splashy, and sibilance is exaggerated compared to the SD-2. The treble of the SD-2 has less energy than I like, but still sounds more natural to me overall. The Reference has a wide soundstage similar to the SD-2 but boasts slightly better imaging.

 

Value (8.5/10) – One of the most well-rounded earphones I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying, the InEar StageDiver 2 amazes with its all-round accuracy, exhibiting tight bass control, level mids, and a good balance between treble presence and smoothness. It can go toe-to-toe with any universal monitor in my collection and provides a compelling upgrade for popular mid-priced sets such as the HiFiMan RE-400. Construction quality on-par with custom in-ears only further substantiates the price tag of these German-made wonders.

 

Pros: Well-balanced and extremely capable sound; stellar build quality

Cons: While very secure, fit can be tight in smaller ears

 

 

(1B11) InEar StageDiver 3 (SD-3)

 

Reviewed December 2013

 

Details: triple-driver custom-inspired earphone from German in-ear monitoring experts InEar

MSRP: 489,00€ (est. $670)

Current Price: $590 from otojoyiem.com (USA) 469€ from thomann.de (Europe)

Specs: Driver: Triple BA | Imp: 40Ω | Sens: 119 dB | Freq: 20-18k Hz | Cable: 4.6' L-plug

Nozzle Size: 4.5mm | Preferred tips: Stock single-flanges, MEElec M6 bi-flanges

Wear Style: Over-the-ear

 

Accessories (4.5/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), hearing aid cleansing wipes (3 sets), ¼” adapter, and crushproof hard shell pelican carrying case with carabiner

Build Quality (5/5) – The StageDiver earphones are designed for longevity in professional applications and utilize extremely solid-feeling acrylic housings. Nozzles are protected by color-coded, interchangeable filters. Replacement filters can be purchased separately and come in sets of 15 pairs, complete with storage carousel and filter changing tool. The cable is sturdy and detachable, in the common 2-pin configuration

Isolation (4/5) – Very good even with the stock single-flange eartips

Microphonics (5/5) – No noise in the flexible twisted cable

Comfort (3.5/5) – The housings of the StageDiver earphones were designed based on an overlay of over 500 ear impression scans. The shape is very unique, even among “universalized” custom in-ears, because the shell extends into upper part of the concha. This provides an extremely secure and stable fit but with smaller ears the concha “fin” can exert some pressure on the ear, so I would recommend trying before buying for those with small ears

 

Sound (9.3/10) – The StageDiver 3 uses a 2-way, triple-armature configuration with dual bass drivers. Perhaps not surprising is that it sounds very much like the less expensive SD-2 model except in the bass region, where the SD-3 has significantly more presence.

 

The bass of the SD-3 is enhanced, putting it alongside the likes of the EarSonics SM64 as one of the most bass-heavy BA-based earphones on the market. Bass impact is slightly lower than with the significantly more expensive quad-driver FitEar TG334 but bass control is similarly good. All in all, the SD-3 can compete with many dynamic-driver earphones when it comes to low end power. Extension is excellent as well.

 

The SD-3 is a bass-boosted earphone with a warm tonal character, and while its midrange is not recessed, bass-midrange balance is definitely better on the flatter SD-2. The StageDiver 3 sounds rich and full, though, and offers good note thickness. However, it lacks the midrange forwardness, as well as some of the clarity, of the FitEar TG334 and high-end custom-fit monitors such as the UM Miracle. There is also just a touch of vocal intelligibility lacking compared to sets such as the Etymotic Research ER4S, in part due to the more laid back upper midrange and treble.

 

The top end of the SD-3, maintains a good balance of presence and smoothness. It’s not prone to harshness or sibilance and, like that of the SD-2, is less bright than average but not lacking in extension. As with the SD-2, I would not mind slightly more energy in the upper midrange and treble, but I also love the forgiving nature of the SD-3.

 

The presentation of the SD-3 is very similar to that of the SD-2 - above average in size and with excellent soundstage width and depth. It lacks the layering and 3-D imaging of the pricier FitEar TG334, as well as top-tier customs such as the UM Miracle, but still provides satisfying imaging.

 

Select Compasisons

 

InEar StageDiver 2 ($450)

 

The two StageDiver models share a very strong family resemblance – in fact, it’s tough to pick the better earphone between the two of them. The triple-driver SD-3 offers more bass presence, which is especially noticeable in the subbass region. Its bass is extremely deep and provides some of the best impact I’ve heard from a universal-fit BA earphone without giving up any bass quality to the SD-2. The SD-2, in comparison, has less punch, as well as less rumble and power.

 

As a result of the added bass presence, the SD-3 sounds a little warmer overall. The SD-2, on the other hand, appears a touch clearer and more neutral. Its presentation is less thick and full-bodied compared to the SD-3 but I found its balance to produce a more natural sound. Tonally, the SD-2 is a little brighter due to its lack of bass bias. The soundstages of the two earphones are very similar with the SD-3 sometimes sounding a little more forward and aggressive thanks to its bass emphasis and slightly more present lower mids.

 

Ultimate Ears / Logitech UE900 ($399)

 

The quad-armature UE is a very capable earphone with excellent top-to-bottom extension and an energetic but non-fatiguing sound. The SD-3, in comparison, has quite a lot more bass impact, though the UE900 can keep up in bass depth/extension. The SD-3 also has mids that are a little more prominent and level overall while the UE900 has less presence in the upper midrange. The top end of the UE900 gains presence again and on the whole the UE earphones sound brighter than the StageDiver 3. The SD-3, on the other hand, is smoother and sounds more natural overall despite its enhanced bass.

 

EarSonics SM64 ($399)

 

A triple-armature monitor with enhanced bass, the SM64 is one of very few BA-based earphones that can best the SD-3 in bass quantity. It has a little more subbass presence with more rumble compared to the SD-3, which also makes the EarSonics a little warmer tonally. The midrange of the SM64 is “sweet”, but thinner in comparison. The EarSonics have no advantage in clarity, though – in fact, the SD-3 oftentimes provided a slightly clearer sound. The StageDiver is also smoother in the treble region and lacks the upper midrange dip of the SM64. Overall, the SD-3 sounded more neutral to me but lacked some of the “fun” factor of the EarSonics—it definitely has more of a conventional warmer/darker signature while the SM64 is very unique, and it’s very difficult to pick a winner between the two.

 

Audeo Phonak PFE 232 ($599)

 

While it uses a dual-driver setup, the Phonak PFE 232 produces plenty of bass and makes a natural competitor for the similarly-priced SD-3. Bass impact between the two earphones is similar – both feature enhanced bass that is definitely on the heavy side for BA earphones. The PFE 232 has more recessed mids, however, and its treble sounds hotter and sharper. The smoother SD-3 sounded more natural to me, making the tone of the PFE 232 seem rather metallic in comparison. Both earphones boast similarly spacious presentations but overall, the SD-3 sounds more realistic compared to the PFE 232, especially in the midrange and treble.

 

Value (8/10) – Turning up the bass on the less expensive StageDiver 2 model, the InEar StageDiver 3 makes a compelling case for itself as one of the few balanced-armature earphones well-suited for fans of hard-hitting lows. The midrange and treble of the SD-3 strike a good balance between energy and smoothness and the overall value is reinforced with stellar build quality that rivals high-end custom IEMs. The only reservations when it comes to the StageDiver 3 are the tight fit in smaller ears and the less expensive but equally capable SD-2 model, which differs only in sound signature.

 

Pros: Enhanced bass with great overall audio quality; stellar build quality

Cons: While very secure, fit can be tight in smaller ears

 

The updated ranking table can be found here.

post #12409 of 14100
Nice reviews Joker!
post #12410 of 14100
Excellent reviews joker.
I love how the RE400 keeps coming up in comparisons well outside its price bracket . 😛

Sent from my LG-D802 using Tapatalk
post #12411 of 14100

Hi |Joker|, very good review about "In-Ear StageDiver 2 and StageDiver 3".

I'm very interested to know how they are comparing to less expensive Dunu DN-1000?
Thanks.

post #12412 of 14100

There should be a RE-400BE sounds like SD-2

post #12413 of 14100
Quote:
Originally Posted by yalper View Post

There should be a RE-400BE sounds like SD-2

Re400BE? Hopefully not, not everyone is a basshead
post #12414 of 14100

.

Thank you for this excellent review of the SD!


Edited by Migou67 - 12/23/13 at 6:57am
post #12415 of 14100

i'm sorry if i may sound a little stupid but.... if straight-barrel iem's, such as the EPH-100,

fit so nicely looped-over-the-ear, then who needs a design such as the Shue SE215...?? (--aside from the removable cable--)

:P

post #12416 of 14100

ljokerl

how do you rank the clarity and detail beetween eph100,gr07be,vc1000,re400, and fxt90 ?

post #12417 of 14100

Hi joker

 

Nice review of the stagediver series.  I've been interested in these for quite a while (they are also available at advancedmp3players) but was a bit nervous about the bass, particularly in the sd3.  Last time I heard a bassy iem it was the monster turbine which I really didn't like.  Is the bass anything like that (I'm aware that the turbines were a dynamic and the stagedivers aren't).  The problem I found with the bass in the turbines was that it would swamp the details making vocals etc hard to make out, so I'd end up turning up the volume which just gave me a headache.  The only bassy ba iem I've heard is the westone 3 which I liked more than the turbines.  From the sound of it I think I would be better off with the 2 than the 3 though.  Listen to progressive/hard rock.  It's hard making a choice in europe as there are so few places that offer a return on iems.  Oh and will you be reviewing the fischer amps fa4xb anytime?  They are another german brand that seem to be gaining traction on headfi.

 

Cheers

post #12418 of 14100

The Stagediver reviews were excellent and I'd have been interested if not for the possible fit issued for those with small ears.  Now it's not something I'd buy before I tried and I'm not likely to get a chance to do the former.

post #12419 of 14100

Just got my JH13 a day early, right before I fly home so the timing is perfect. Looking at the IEM the bores have a slightly rough finish to them. I put them in (took a while to figure out right from left) and the right side is a lot tighter than the left. I'm running them through the Audioquest Dragonfly and I keep hearing low hums  with no music playing, DAC problem? First listen is not WOW. They are more detailed than the GR07, placement of instrument in the music is a bit different but the soundstage is about the same. I don't if it has to do with my stuffed nose from chronic allergy, but the bass sounds boomy because it sounds like it came from within a cereal box, but they do hit harder and deeper than the GR07. Also, the isolation isn't what I thought it would be since I can clearly hear my phone ring(yet I can hear my heartbeat and feel the pulse in my ear....). Do I have a fit issue?

 

Edit: the JH13 are A LOT more detailed using the GR07 as a reference.


Edited by godlyatheist - 12/23/13 at 8:53pm
post #12420 of 14100
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
 

Added the In-Ear StageDiver 2 and StageDiver 3. 

 

 

The updated ranking table can be found here.

 

Nice!! and just right before christmas, thanks!!

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