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Multi-IEM Review - 318 IEMs compared (NarMoo R1M added 07/03/14 p. 936) - Page 566

post #8476 of 14052
Quote:
Originally Posted by putente View Post

 

 

Compared to the EPH-100, the RE-262 are bass light. They can perform very well with the bass boost from a portable amp, though. The main advantage of the RE-262 over the EPH-100 are the mids, highs and soundstage. For bass alone, the EPH-100 are superior... I own both, and they complement each other very well!

ok, thanks. I might get them and see if they like the bass boost on the E11 then

post #8477 of 14052

First off, thank you for these reviews, this is an incredibly informative post.  I'm looking to bust out of the bottom of the barrel IEMs and try to move into some mid-level.  I considered posting this question in the recommendations thread, but it doesn't seem as though anyone responds there. 

 

With that said, I currently have Sennheiser cx55s (mostly use when mowing the lawn/walking), meelectronic M16P (too uncomfortable to wear), and Audio Technica CKM50 with comply tips (very comfortable, my go to IEMs for now).  Only headphones I have are HD555's, which I just recently foam modded and like the less muddled bass (by far my favorite to listen with).

 

I listen to a wide range of music: Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Macklemore, Cold War Kids, Grouplove, The National, Mumford & Sons.

 

I'm looking to spend <$150 and hoping to find something comfortable (small ear canals), decently balanced, solid but non-muddled bass, with plenty of clarity in mids/highs.  Based on your reviews, these are what I have narrowed it down to (bold are top choices):

Head-Direct (HiFiMan) RE-ZERO ($99) - $59 on head-direct 
MEElectronics A151 ($100) - $50 on amazon
Shure SE215 ($100)
HiSoundAudio Crystal ($100)
VSonic GR06 ($65)
HiFiMan RE262 ($150)
Audio-Technica ATH-CKM99 ($150)
JVC HA-FXD80($105) - $75 on amazon

 

Any recommendations from anyone based on the above list and music selection?

Also, do many IEMs go on sale around Black Friday?  If so, I'd assume it'd be best for me to wait a few weeks till then.


Edited by AlBorland - 10/26/12 at 10:24am
post #8478 of 14052
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlBorland View Post

First off, thank you for these reviews, this is an incredibly informative post.  I'm looking to bust out of the bottom of the barrel IEMs and try to move into some mid-level.  I considered posting this question in the recommendations thread, but it doesn't seem as though anyone responds there. 

 

With that said, I currently have Sennheiser cx55s (mostly use when mowing the lawn/walking), meelectronic M16P (too uncomfortable to wear), and Audio Technica CKM50 with comply tips (very comfortable, my go to IEMs for now).  Only headphones I have are HD555's, which I just recently foam modded and like the less muddled bass (by far my favorite to listen with).

 

I listen to a wide range of music: Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Macklemore, Cold War Kids, Grouplove, The National, Mumford & Sons.

 

I'm looking to spend <$150 and hoping to find something comfortable (small ear canals), decently balanced, solid but non-muddled bass, with plenty of clarity in mids/highs.  Based on your reviews, these are what I have narrowed it down to (bold are top choices):

Head-Direct (HiFiMan) RE-ZERO ($99) - $59 on head-direct 
MEElectronics A151 ($100) - $50 on amazon
Shure SE215 ($100)
HiSoundAudio Crystal ($100)
VSonic GR06 ($65)
HiFiMan RE262 ($150)
Audio-Technica ATH-CKM99 ($150)
JVC HA-FXD80($105) - $75 on amazon

 

Any recommendations from anyone based on the above list and music selection?

Also, do many IEMs go on sale around Black Friday?  If so, I'd assume it'd be best for me to wait a few weeks till then.

 

Out of those I would probably try the GR06 to see if you can get along with the fit. It's not the clearest earphone out there but not bad for the asking price and it makes up for it in other ways. Also, that's a great price for the RE-ZERO but it might be a bit bass-lean compared to the options listed. You can also get the MEElec A161P <$100, which is a pretty big improvement on the A151 IMO. Better bass and better clarity, among other improvements. It's reviewed in this thread as the Fischer Audio SBA-03. 

 

Black Friday - earphone solutions usually has a coupon code applicable to most items on their site. I am sure MEElec will have some promotions as well. The Chinese brands - unlikely. 


Edited by ljokerl - 10/26/12 at 7:54pm
post #8479 of 14052

The GR04 is still about $50 on ebay and at lendmeurears.com, and is one model up from the GR06

post #8480 of 14052

Thank you both for the input, really appreciate it.

post #8481 of 14052

Heh, I need to start an IEM dissection thread. I'll be using Brainwavz M2 as the cable donor for RE272. (Since they're not that great sounding anyway and happen to have a superb cable and a nice case that might be useful.)

 

Now I'm also fixing GR07s, which have clogged filters in their shell. I've removed the drivers correctly, they even have a nice sparse grille and put them in the M2's case's front (to attach the back, I'd have to unsolder the cable).

 

It seems they still sound like GR07, lighter and more controlled than original R02 drivers. However, it seems I'd have to get a deeper fit, so this case is not that good for them. They apparently have been tuned for 0.5 cm deeper fit than possible in the original case.

M2's half-case can go that deep with RE272's long silicone biflanges, but it's very unpleasant, stretching the ear canal a lot.

Alternatively, soft shorter silicone biflange (UE? It's very old and for 5mm) works well. Much better than anything that's attachable to original VSonic case.

 

Funny thing though, the 6k resonance is all case resonance in GR07, not a driver resonance. There's not even a trace of it in those configurations.

I'll try to print something nice for it and RE272 on a 3D printer. Might happen to be black, red, yellow or pink in color, ABS. wink_face.gif (I'll find a UV filter lacquer and apply that on top, obviously.)

The tricky part will be sourcing the metal grille. I might do a secondary hack and print it onto the M2 aluminum case instead, which has an integral grille of the same variety.

 

(I also know now why Brainwavz doesn't use this case - aside from being expensive, oce the driver is in there's no way to remove it.)


Edited by AstralStorm - 10/27/12 at 1:14am
post #8482 of 14052
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralStorm View Post

I'll try to print something nice for it and RE272 on a 3D printer. Might happen to be black, red, yellow or pink in color, ABS. wink_face.gif (I'll find a UV filter lacquer and apply that on top, obviously.)

The tricky part will be sourcing the metal grille. I might do a secondary hack and print it onto the M2 aluminum case instead, which has an integral grille of the same variety.

 

I've been wondering myself whether it's already possible to print custom eartips with a 3-D printer and a 3-D scan of the ear. If not, it probably will be very soon. Once more audiologists start using 3-D scans in place of conventional molds you could just take a copy of the scan with you after you get impressions taken wink.gif

post #8483 of 14052

Well, I pulled the trigger for the B2, It should be arriving in ~ 2 weeks.

I hope to have done a good choice, got it by 114€ shipped.

 

I would like to thank everyone, specialy ljokerl and AstralStorm for their help.

post #8484 of 14052

I decided to purchase the Brainwavz B2. I have to say, it sounds really nice. Pretty revealing and not as enjoyable with the comply foams, and slight of that with the silicone tips it comes with, but it's much much better than the R1s I also recently got. Nothing is overpowering, but I do notice a bit more focus on the highs. It has a bit of sibilance on some of the tracks I mentioned, but it is not even close to being as bad as the Image S4s, one thing I appreciate about these. There is a lot of depth in these headphones, very spacious (though not as compared to the HD 598 for obvious reasons), but more than the ATH-M50s. I kind of have to have the mood to listen to the music to enjoy it completely, but when that happens, it's like I'm listening to that type of music with the proper headphones. They sound AMAZING in instrumental tracks due to their great positioning, non-distorted frequency ranges, a good focus on highs, S4-level bass with a wider presentation, and great clarity. I think I enjoy these more than my ATH-M50s to be honest. These tips don't give me a perfect fit, so I might try to find some Shure olive tips to replace these, but they aren't bad. It took me a few hours to find a way to fully enjoy different genres of music I listened to, and settled that to really enjoy, I have to be ready to enjoy the music, not focus on the flaws I listen to. Thanks for the review, they really convinced me to purchase them, and I have no regrets purchasing these with exception of their build quality.


Edited by Sycho - 10/27/12 at 2:40pm
post #8485 of 14052

a friend of mine is looking for what he describes as an fx40 with thicker, fuller, and slightly more prominent mids on a sub $50 budget?

improvement in technical ability is a plus but he's just looking for that overall sound signature he described.
any recommendations?

 

how do the sony mh1c's and brainwavz r1 and m5 compare?


Edited by atomikn00b - 10/27/12 at 11:30pm
post #8486 of 14052
Quote:
Originally Posted by atomikn00b View Post

a friend of mine is looking for what he describes as an fx40 with thicker, fuller, and slightly more prominent mids on a sub $50 budget?

improvement in technical ability is a plus but he's just looking for that overall sound signature he described.
any recommendations?

 

how do the sony mh1c's and brainwavz r1 and m5 compare?

if he can go for $60, then the CKM500, if not then maybe the FX31

post #8487 of 14052
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by atomikn00b View Post

a friend of mine is looking for what he describes as an fx40 with thicker, fuller, and slightly more prominent mids on a sub $50 budget?

improvement in technical ability is a plus but he's just looking for that overall sound signature he described.
any recommendations?

 

how do the sony mh1c's and brainwavz r1 and m5 compare?

 

The M5 is pretty much the opposite of the FX40, with fleshed-out bass and forward mids. For a fuller and slightly less v-shaped sound than the FX40 I'd try the VSonic GR02 Bass Edition. 

post #8488 of 14052

@ljokerl:

Hey, I'm looking for new In-Ears because my Brainwavz M1 are broken. Since I want to have more highs (I used the following Rockbox EQ settings on my M1: 150: +2, 800: -2, 4000: +6), I tried the M4. They are pretty nice, but the bass is boomy sometimes, for my music (metal, rock) I rather like dry bass which helps hearing the bass lines. Furthermore the mids were recessed a bit too much, so guitar riffs sounds shallow sometimes and were in the background. But the highs of the M4 were very good, detailed enough for me, yet not aggressive or too much in the foreground.

You have a recommendation for me? You think the M5 could be what I'm looking for?

Sorry for my english. :P

post #8489 of 14052
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kais0r View Post

@ljokerl:

Hey, I'm looking for new In-Ears because my Brainwavz M1 are broken. Since I want to have more highs (I used the following Rockbox EQ settings on my M1: 150: +2, 800: -2, 4000: +6), I tried the M4. They are pretty nice, but the bass is boomy sometimes, for my music (metal, rock) I rather like dry bass which helps hearing the bass lines. Furthermore the mids were recessed a bit too much, so guitar riffs sounds shallow sometimes and were in the background. But the highs of the M4 were very good, detailed enough for me, yet not aggressive or too much in the foreground.

You have a recommendation for me? You think the M5 could be what I'm looking for?

Sorry for my english. :P

 

I don't think the M5 is what you want - it tends to underemphasize treble and has tons of bass compared to the M1. Not sure what your price range is and I've never heard the M4 but I think you'd enjoy something a bit more balanced, maybe a Maximo iM-590 or Xears XR120 Pro. If your budget goes up above $50, maybe a VSonic GR06, Rock-It Sounds R-30, Etymotic MC5, or MEElec A161P/Fischer SBA-03. The Rock-It Sounds has slightly more laid-back treble compared to the others but the midrange is nice and forward and it's a surprisingly detailed earphone. 

post #8490 of 14052
Thread Starter 

Added the new Ultimate Ears UE 900 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post

 

(1C19) Ultimate Ears UE 900


1000
Added Oct 2012

Details: UE’s long-awaited follow-up to the renowned Triple.Fi 10
Current Price: $399.99 from logitech.com (MSRP: $399.99)
Specs: Driver: Quad BA | Imp: 30Ω | Sens: 105 dB | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 4' L-plug
Nozzle Size: 4.5mm | Preferred tips: stock single-flanges; MEElec M6 bi-flanges; T-series Complys
Wear Style: Over-the-ear

Accessories (5/5) - Single-flange silicone tips (5 sizes), Comply foam tips (3 sizes), replacement cable with inline mic/remote, ¼” adapter, airline attenuator, soft carrying pouch, and plastic carrying case
Build Quality (4.5/5) – The UE900 retains the blue-and-black plastic aesthetic and replaceable cables of UE’s previous flagship, the Triple.Fi 10, but compacts everything into a smaller, more ergonomic package. The two-pin cable sockets are gone in favor of rotating coaxial connectors akin to those used by Shure’s current offerings and both a headset and a plain stereo cable are included. The cables are braided, with an unusual quad-braid configuration below the y-split, and provide a massive ergonomic improvement over the latest TF10 cables
Isolation (4/5) – Very good with the right fit. The tapered housings allow for a relatively deep seal and a variety of tips is included for optimal isolation
Microphonics (5/5) – Nonexistent in the braided cord
Comfort (4/5) – Ergonomically, the UE900 is a huge improvement on the old TF10, with housings that sit more flush in the ear and can stay in place without additional support, though the rotating cable connectors can make it more difficult to use the memory wire. The earphone seems to favor a deep seal and the housings still contain four armatures per side, so those with small ears should, if possible, try before buying

Sound (9.2/10) – The UE900 is the first Ultimate Ears flagship created under Logitech management. Replacing the Triple.Fi 10, a model that has been a staple of portable audiophiledom for the better part of a decade, the UE900 boasts a 3-way quad-BA configuration akin to that of the Westone 4. Despite UE’s new management, the 900 doesn’t stray too far away from the TF10 sound, opting to simply provide a more balanced and refined take on the signature.

The Triple.Fi 10 has always been known for delivering ample bass courtesy of its 2-way, triple-BA driver configuration, and the new UE900 is certainly no slouch in this regard—its bass is deep, punchy, and articulate. The curve is flatter compared to the TF10, with more linear subbass extension and less mid-bass boost. The resulting sound is less warm compared to the TF10, though still warmer than sets such as the HiFiMan RE272 and VSonic GR07. The bass of the UE900 sounds tighter and more natural than that of its predecessor and the sound is not as colored. The only potential downside is that the UE900 is a touch less “bassy” in the conventional sense than fans of the TF10 may be used to.

The UE900 is tonally on the warm side and the midrange has a mild downward slope. Lower mids are more prominent compared to the TF10, resulting in a sound signature with a much less obvious v-shape. Vocals are less recessed and the midrange sounds fuller and richer, making the mids of the TF10 seem thin in comparison. Upper mids are de-emphasized, however, resulting in slight veiling. Female vocals especially seem veiled and less intelligible compared to sets such as the HiFiMan RE272 and Sony MDR-7550.

Treble response, on the other hand, is quite inoffensive. The UE900 doesn’t lack treble emphasis on the grand scale, providing a brighter sound with more treble presence than some popular triple-driver sets, such as the Shure SE530 and Earsonics SM3. That said, the top end is smoother compared to the TF10 and boasts less sparkle, continuing the UE900’s move away from the more v-shaped, more colored sound of its predecessor. The greater treble emphasis does make the TF10 sound a bit more energetic and can give it the illusion of greater clarity on some tracks but the smoother treble of the UE900 does a better job of avoiding harshness and sibilance. The UE900 also sounds more natural, avoiding the slight metallic tinge displayed by certain other BA-based sets.

The presentation of the UE900 retains the best aspect of the TF10 – the width – but the more forward mids give its sound a less distant, more three-dimensional feel. Soundstage depth is good, easily beating out the popular VSonic GR07 and competing with the pricier Phonak PFE232. Instrument separation and imaging are good as well, providing an immersive listening experience. It’s worth noting also that the sensitivity of the UE900 is rather high compared to the PFE232 and similar sets—seemingly a common trait of all balanced armature in-ears from UE.


In addition to the Triple.Fi 10 comparisons above, I took the chance to test the UE900 head-to-head against a few other high-end universal-fit earphones. What follows are brief notes based on lengthy comparative listening.

Rock-It Sounds R-50 ($120)

The R-50 is a high bang-per-buck dual-armature universal based on the Knowles TWFK driver, a setup similar to UE’s lower-end 700 model. Compared to the UE900, the R-50 boasts a brighter tone with less bass emphasis and more treble energy. It has a thinner note presentation but provides better midrange clarity and more intelligible vocals. Unfortunately, the treble is also splashier and more prone to exaggerating sibilance. The UE900, on the other hand, is smoother and carries more lower midrange emphasis for fuller, throatier vocals. Its bass is deeper and significantly more powerful, though also a touch boomy in comparison. Both earphones have similarly spacious soundstages with good depth and width.

VSonic GR07 ($180)

The GR07 is an audiophile heavy-hitter, providing benchmark performance from a single bio-cellulose dynamic driver. Compared to the UE900, the GR07 provides better clarity and a brighter sound with tonality closer to what I would consider “neutral”. The UE900 is warmer and provides more mid-bass impact with similar sub-bass depth. Its sound is more dynamic, however, and it avoids the sibilance-prone treble peaks of the GR07 in favor of a smoother, less fatiguing presentation. The UE900 also pulls away in soundstaging, with better depth and layering that make the GR07’s presentation appear flat and overly distant.

HiFiMan RE272 ($250)

The RE272 is another audiophile favorite and the latest in a series of increasingly accurate in-ears from HiFiMan. Compared to the somewhat bass-light RE272, the UE900 is warmer and punchier, with an overall presentation centered more on the bass and lower midrange, and a slightly “boomier” bottom end. The RE272 is more transparent and boasts better vocal clarity and treble sparkle, as well as better instrument separation. Its soundstage lacks a bit of depth in comparison, however, giving the UE900 an edge in layering and imaging.

Phonak PFE232 ($600)

Phonak’s flagship uses a dual armature setup but still manages to deliver sound that puts it near the top of the universal earphone game. The sound signature of the PFE232 is noticeably v-shaped, with more recessed mids and added treble energy compared to the UE900. The top end of the PFE232 is more crisp, sparkly, and extended. The low end of the Phonaks also presents less mid-bass emphasis for a slightly cleaner sound. The UE900, on the other hand, still manages good bass, both in depth and impact, but also provides more prominent and less grainy mids compared to the 232. Its presentation also has slightly better depth in addition to great width.

AKG K3003i ($1300)

The priciest universal-fit headset on the planet, the K3003i is AKG’s sole entry into the high-end in-ear market. Compared to the UE900, the dynamic bass driver of the K3003i provides more mid-bass impact and slower bass decay while the balanced armatures attain better top-end extension and crisper, more detailed sound. Its presentation is also more airy and layered better than that of the UE900, though the latter is definitely no slouch. The midrange of the K3003i is more recessed, however, with the UE900 providing better balance between the bass and mids. The UE900 also wins the smoothness battle as the AKGs are more prone to exposing harshness and sibilance.

FitEar ToGo 334 ($1350)

The TG334 is a flagship custom-come-universal from Japan-based FitEar. The UE900 puts up a good fight in this unfair comparison but the TG334 earns its otherworldly price tag with a noticeable jump in clarity and transparency over the UE900. The veil of the UE900 was most noticeable next to the FitEar—the more forward midrange of the TG334, despite the powerful bass, carries no veil whatsoever. Microdetail is brought forward and made more discernible compared to the UE900 and instrument separation is improved as well. Finally, the bass of the TG334 is also more dynamic and capable of delivering greater impact when called for.

Value (8.5/10) – With such a widely revered predecessor and an even more easy-going sound signature, the new Ultimate Ears UE 900 is a high-end earphone for the masses. The outgoing Triple.Fi 10 is still an audiophile icon but after more than half a decade it is undoubtedly a bit long in the tooth. The UE 900, despite the steep price tag, is a well thought-out replacement, both sonically and as an overall package. It provides better ergonomics, optional headset functionality, and an improved cable, as well as punchy, smooth, non-fatiguing sound that doesn’t butcher low-bitrate tracks. It’s not perfect, but with the UE 900 as its replacement the TF10 certainly won’t be missed by many.

Pros: Comfortable fit; spare cable included; nearly no cable noise; punchy bass; more balanced sound than Triple.Fi 10
Cons: Upper midrange can appear a bit veiled

 

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