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Multi-IEM Review - 319 IEMs compared (T-Peos D200R added 08/01/14 p. 947) - Page 818

post #12256 of 14362
Quote:
Originally Posted by kova4a View Post

I ordered mine looking for an er4s upgrade and if Noble really worked on fixing the heir 4ai weaknesses the Noble 4 will be a real winner, especially at the Black Friday's price.

 

Hmm.  Coming from a 4.ai and 4.A past owner, my ER4S upgrade path was the Tzar 350 (waiting for delivery).

post #12257 of 14362
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha421 View Post
 

 

Hmm.  Coming from a 4.ai and 4.A past owner, my ER4S upgrade path was the Tzar 350 (waiting for delivery).

Well, the Noble 4 was the logical choice for me. With Wizard working on fixing the 4ai's shortcomings and supposedly providing a reference quad driver iem done right.

I guess a lot of people were tempted by the bigger 30% discount Heir provided for Black Friday and with zero reviews of the Noble 4 they were a bit skeptical but I personally decided to take that leap of faith and chose the newer product.

post #12258 of 14362
I plan to wait for the impressions to roll in. Who knows. Maybe Noble can do what JH Audio did with the Jh freq phase tweaks.
post #12259 of 14362
Thread Starter 

Added the Clear Tune Monitors WLS-5 5-driver CIEM

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
 

 

(1A14) Clear Tune Monitors WLS-5


Reviewed November 2013

Details: 5-driver flagship from Florida-based Clear Tune Monitors
Starting Price: $800 from cleartunemonitors.com
Specs: Driver: 5 BA / 3-way crossover | Imp: 20Ω | Sens: 124 dB | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 3.9' L-plug
Wear Style: Over-the-ear

 

Accessories (4/5) – Cleaning tool and small hard shell pelican case
Build Quality (5/5) – The WLS-5 is part of Clear Tune Monitors’ Wood Legit Series, so called for the use of real wood faceplates. The faceplate on my unit is definitely substantial – a thick wooden slab with an engraved CTM logo. The unit looks great overall, with a metallic brown swirl in the acrylic housings to match the faceplates. The WLS-5 utilizes a triple-bore setup and boasts detachable cables in the standard 2-pin configuration. The cable is twisted and on the whole quite typical except for the longer memory wire section, which I rather like
Isolation (4.5/5) – My WLS-5 was made with long nozzles so the isolation is excellent – slightly below that of silicone-shelled customs but on-par with my UM and JH Audio units
Microphonics (5/5) – Nonexistent
Comfort (5/5) – As with all acrylic customs, the shells are hard but very comfortable when fitted correctly. If the earphones are uncomfortable after an initial break-in period, a refit is probably a good idea.
 

Sound (9.5/10) – Clear Tune Monitors describes the sound tuning of the Wood Legit Series earphones as “extremely warm and punchy”. While the flagship WLS-5 is not overly warm to my ears, it certainly does have good punch. The bass is not the deepest, but emphasis picks up quickly and it can hit quite hard – certainly much harder than Clear Tune Monitors’ dual-driver CT-200 model. Bass impact is greater than with the average custom monitor and about on-par with my benchmark, the JH Audio JH13 Pro, in being a few dB north of neutral.
 

Emphasis drops off a bit for the midrange, which is less forward than with sets like the JH13 and Ultimate Ears In-Ear Reference Monitor (UERM). Note presentation is a little thinner here as well, which affords the WLS-5 great clarity but also makes the mids sound a touch dry and recessed, not unlike what happens with JVC’s carbon nanotube earphones, such as the FXD80.

 

The WLS-5 gains presence in the upper midrange, strongly reminding me of the similarly pro-oriented Sensaphonics 3MAX. The lower treble has good presence as well, though top-end extension ultimately doesn’t quite keep up with the JH Audio JH13, resulting in a slightly darker overall tone and a presentation with less “air”. The relative emphasis on the upper mids and treble gives the WLS-5 a slightly “shouty” character, which again reminds me of the 3MAX as well as the Japan-exclusive j-Phonic K2 SP monitors. Despite this, the top end of the WLS-5 is surprisingly forgiving compared, for example, to the Alclair Reference and 1964EARS V6-Stage customs, as well as universals such as the VSonic GR07. The presentation, likewise, is competent – a little narrower than average, but well-positioned and accurate.

 

Worth noting also is the high sensitivity of the WLS-5 – it is highly recommended to use the earphone with a noise-free source as background hiss can get quite noticeable with a subpar audio player.

 

Select Comparisons

 

Clear Tune Monitors CT-200 ($350)

 

One of Clear Tune Monitors’ lower-end models, the dual-driver CT-200 provides a sound radically different from that of the Wood Legit Series earphones – smooth, mid-centric, and light on subbass. The WLS-5 is significantly more extended at the bottom end, providing deeper bass with more punch, and makes the sub-bass roll-off of the CT-200 very obvious.

Moving up, the WLS-5 is clearer and more resolving than the CT-200, especially in the midrange. The lower-end model, in comparison, lacks crispness and sounds a little smeared and lacking in detail. The WLS-5 has more upper midrange emphasis and more treble energy as well. The CT-200 has a more laid-back, out-of-the-head presentation while the WLS-5 is more forward and aggressive, due in part to the upper midrange emphasis. Despite this, the WLS-5 has slightly better overall imaging thanks to its crisp and clean note presentation.

 

Alclair Reference ($399)

 

The triple-driver Alclair Reference follows a balanced, slightly v-shaped sound signature. Compared to the WLS-5, the Reference has slightly deeper bass but lacks a bit of bass control and tightness. In the midrange, the WLS-5 is a little clearer and more resolving. Despite its upper midrange boost, it still sounds smoother and more refined overall compared to the Reference, especially in the treble region. The Alclair unit, on the other hand, sounds peaky and is more prone to sibilance. The presentation of the Reference is a bit wider overall, however, and unlike the CT-200 it keeps up with the WLS-5 in imaging, too.

 

EarSonics SM64 ($399)

 

The SM64 is a universal-fit earphone with quite a lot of bass for a balanced armature setup. Next to the WLS-5, the bass of the SM64 goes deeper and provides more impact and rumble. Unfortunately this also makes it sound a little muddy in comparison, especially in the midrange. The WLS-5 is clearer and brighter overall, with a lot more emphasis in the upper midrange and lower treble. It does tend to be a little harsher than the SM64, but it’s not bad at all considering how much more the upper mid and treble energy it has.

 

1964EARS V6-Stage ($699)

 

1964EARS’ latest flagship is a neutral-sounding earphone in the same price class as the WLS-5. The V6-Stage is a little tighter and more refined in the bass region but has more presence in the lower mids, which gives it a slightly warmer and richer sound. The bass of the WLS-5 is a bit deeper and more impactful but the earphone has dryer, more recessed mids compared to the V6-Stage. However, it gains emphasis towards the upper midrange, which often makes it sound clearer. Realistically, though, neither earphone lacks clarity or has a real advantage over the other here.

 

The 1964EARS set is more sibilant, especially on tracks already prone to sibilance, but also has a bit more treble “sparkle” and extension. The WLS-5 is less extended, but more forgiving of sibilance and less critical of recording quality. Overall, the V6-Stage does sound a little more natural on some tracks, but each of these earphones has a tendency to make the other sound flawed.

 

Westone ES5 ($950)

 

Westone’s flagship custom is a 5-driver, just like the WLS-5, but boasts a warmer, more bass-biased signature. It has deeper, more powerful bass than the Clear Tune Monitors and a richer, fuller, more prominent midrange. The WLS-5, on the other hand, boasts a thinner note presentation and is a touch clearer. Its upper midrange and treble are more prominent, lending it a brighter sound. The ES5 offers up a darker tone but is very, very smooth and has a more spacious soundstage. Neither earphone has great treble reach. Overall, the ES5 is a little more convincing from a tonal standpoint, but the WLS-5 is not far behind and has an advantage in clarity.

 

Unique Melody Miracle ($950)

 

The 6-driver Miracle is a top-tier earphone built around a 3-way, 6-driver configuration. Tonally, it is more neutral than the WLS-5 and has a more coherent sound. It lacks the bass presence of the WLS-5, as well as the emphasized mid-treble region, exhibiting great smoothness through the upper midrange and treble. The upper midrange lift of the WLS-5 throws off its tonality in comparison to the Miracle and makes it sound a bit “shouty”. The top end of the Miracle is also more extended and it sounds more spacious overall.

 

Value (7.5/10) – The Clear Tune Monitors WLS-5 is a uniquely-voiced custom monitor oriented towards the pro audio market and doesn’t share many similarities with the lower-end CT-200 model. Instead, it is a less expensive, acrylic-shelled alternative to the Sensaphonics 3MAX. Like the 3MAX, its sound is characterized by a prominent upper midrange, though the WLS-5 also boasts excellent bass presence. It offers deep canals – what I normally see referred to as “musician’s fit” – and isolates rather well as a result. Add the excellent fit and finish with the engraved wood face plates and the WLS-5 is a musician’s truly monitor unlike anything else out there.

 

Pros: Great clarity and excellent bass; excellent fit & finish
Cons: Musician-oriented tuning with a distinct sound profile

 

 

The updated ranking can be found here.

post #12260 of 14362

I took advantage of Noble Audio's BF sale and ordered a NA4 universal IEM, as well... comparison to my UERM & JH13 FP are sure to follow.  I figure I need to have at least one universal IEM around.. and being that I prefer a neutral/ish signature, this looks like a good choice.

 

I owned the Heir 4.A custom approx a year ago, too.. I was less than enthused with its sound.  The steep 4K dip (which wasn't 'revealed' when I received my 4.A) was something I caught onto immediately.. I went as so far to have my pair re-inspected cause I was certain a damper or something was missing.. the upper mids through treble sounded unnaturally dull.. so here's hoping the NA4 soundly addresses this as has been stated on the product page.

post #12261 of 14362
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post  Added the Clear Tune Monitors WLS-5 5-driver CIEM

 

I wish you'd gotten the WLS-3 --- it was my preferred one of the three WLS demos I heard.

post #12262 of 14362

Nice reviews! But still I don't know, what to choose under $100 :confused_face(1):

 

I had MEE SP51 which I used with the "gun silver" tip. I like stronger but deep bass (sub-bass), warmer sound.

I looked on Sunrise Xcape IE or JVC HA-FXT90, but I'm still afraid, if it's not to "bass weak" for me...

I listen to rock, pop-rock, but also The Prodigy, Pendulum or Movits!

 

Any recommendations please? :) 

 

EDIT: Brookstone Dual drivers looks great for the price. Pity that you don't have them in review :/


Edited by Benik3 - 12/6/13 at 8:26am
post #12263 of 14362

@Joker

Have you listened to Denon AH-C260R ?

Which would be a better option between AH-C260R and E10M ? Need an IEM around that budget with mic

post #12264 of 14362
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitesh View Post
 

@Joker

Have you listened to Denon AH-C260R ?

Which would be a better option between AH-C260R and E10M ? Need an IEM around that budget with mic

 

    dont go for ahc-260 , you can opt for e10m , they are far better then c-260 .

post #12265 of 14362
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlySweep View Post
 

I took advantage of Noble Audio's BF sale and ordered a NA4 universal IEM, as well... comparison to my UERM & JH13 FP are sure to follow.  I figure I need to have at least one universal IEM around.. and being that I prefer a neutral/ish signature, this looks like a good choice.

 

I owned the Heir 4.A custom approx a year ago, too.. I was less than enthused with its sound.  The steep 4K dip (which wasn't 'revealed' when I received my 4.A) was something I caught onto immediately.. I went as so far to have my pair re-inspected cause I was certain a damper or something was missing.. the upper mids through treble sounded unnaturally dull.. so here's hoping the NA4 soundly addresses this as has been stated on the product page.

 

I've never heard the 4.A but I don't think the Noble has that problem.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benik3 View Post
 

Nice reviews! But still I don't know, what to choose under $100 :confused_face(1):

 

I had MEE SP51 which I used with the "gun silver" tip. I like stronger but deep bass (sub-bass), warmer sound.

I looked on Sunrise Xcape IE or JVC HA-FXT90, but I'm still afraid, if it's not to "bass weak" for me...

I listen to rock, pop-rock, but also The Prodigy, Pendulum or Movits!

 

Any recommendations please? :) 

 

EDIT: Brookstone Dual drivers looks great for the price. Pity that you don't have them in review :/

 

Seems like the Yamaha EPH-100 would be a great fit for you. Last I checked it was around $115 on amazon with a few used ones available for less.

 

Other than that the FXT90 should be a decent fit. It doesn't have the best deep bass but it has good impact, certainly not worse than the SP51 on the medium setting you were using.


The Brookstone Dual isn't that bassy, either. I do have one but it's broken on me twice so I have been putting off the review. Great sound, just don't really trust the construction.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitesh View Post
 

@Joker

Have you listened to Denon AH-C260R ?

Which would be a better option between AH-C260R and E10M ? Need an IEM around that budget with mic

 

Never tried the C260 but the C360 was pretty sub-par. I'd go with the E10M.

post #12266 of 14362

*sigh*

 

I am stuck.

 

My Minerva Mi-1 customs (absolutely fantastic in every day) have packed in and the repair cost for a single driver unit is just far too rich for my bank account and financial position for the foreseeable future so after over 2 1/2 years, I am on the hunt for a pair of quality universal IEM's.

 

And beyond this thread I have absolutely no idea where it is best to turn...

 

My last universals were the HeadDirect RE-ZERO's. Not much on the bass end, reasonable speed for a dynamic but highs and mids that could soothe even the most angry beast on the right tracks. I loved them but they weren't in the same league as my Mi-1's for sound. Recently I've been using my Dad's pair of sub-$50 Meelec universals and they weren't too bad but they took some effort to EQ out and make them fun.

 

Ideally I'd love something like the RE-ZERO but of a higher grade/quality, analytic with fantastic mids and highs and controlled bass but I know that's not an easy task. I'm not a huge fan of Dynamic drivers as I find they can fatigue me easily (health issue which makes them fatigue my ears a bit faster than most) but I don't mind them, especially if the bass quality is reasonable and it's not thumping hard (Monster Turbines).

 

Personally I've been looking at the old stable Fischer Audio DBA-02's and the Mk II (£120) versions, as well as the Brainwavz B2 (£64) or R3's (£80, dual dynamics, I know). 

 

Could anyone give me a hand? Yes, I'm picky. With my health condition I can have sore ears/quickly fatigued ears with too much impact behind the bass for which I found the Monster Turbines to be awful for, even if it was enjoyable until that certain point.

 

I really do appreciate any advice given. As the Mi-1's would cost me over £200 to replace, the Brainwavz offerings sound fantastic and ideally I'd like to spend no more than £100 (about $160 in US currency, give or take $10). Alternatives are very much appreciated as the references and ideas I have posted above are just for reference/curiousity sake.

post #12267 of 14362

Ouch, still 2 and half years isn't bad for a set of headphones.  What's up with the mi's anyway? Know what you mean about the monster turbines.  The bass on those gave me a headache as well.  I think it's to do with the fact that the bass swamps the details so you turn it up to hear vocals etc more clearly and end up with a headache!

 

Just a thought but if you can a)wait and b) stretch to cover impressions and postage (don't know how much they are where you are for impressions) and want to stick with customs you could do worse than have a look at Cosmic Ears single ba which is going for a £100 atm.  The downside is they aren't taking orders until the 20th after clearing a mammoth backlog though so you wouldn't get anything back till January at the earliest.  They are also acrylic not silicone if that makes a difference.

 

Good luck getting em sorted.

post #12268 of 14362
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidcotton View Post
 

Ouch, still 2 and half years isn't bad for a set of headphones.  What's up with the mi's anyway? Know what you mean about the monster turbines.  The bass on those gave me a headache as well.  I think it's to do with the fact that the bass swamps the details so you turn it up to hear vocals etc more clearly and end up with a headache!

 

Just a thought but if you can a)wait and b) stretch to cover impressions and postage (don't know how much they are where you are for impressions) and want to stick with customs you could do worse than have a look at Cosmic Ears single ba which is going for a £100 atm.  The downside is they aren't taking orders until the 20th after clearing a mammoth backlog though so you wouldn't get anything back till January at the earliest.  They are also acrylic not silicone if that makes a difference.

 

Good luck getting em sorted.

 

The left monitor in my Mi's developed a bit of a crunch/crackle noise on certain tracks (tried difference sources, different versions of the track ie. YouTube Vs. my own FLAC rip Vs. my own CD) and I returned them to Minerva. They said there was a bit of wax blockage in there and moisture ingress which dropped volumes by 4dB in that monitor, which was said to be 'barely noticeable' . £12 to remove the blockage, £137 for a part rebuild or £205 for impressions and full rebuild with 12mo warranty... I picked the cleaning option, got them back and the left monitor is now quite even worse than when I sent it in. Much lower volume across the board, almost silent in some parts of some tracks, the audio quality is much reduced and the crunch/crackle is still there. My left ear is, as proved by hearing tests, my stronger and more sensitive ear so it's like my whole world has been shattered even if I've been tweaking EQ's and stereo balance settings to try to alleviate my issue and smooth things out.

 

The part-rebuild option doesn't take my fancy and it could easily be 6-12 months before I am readily able to afford a full new build with impressions (£205 is what I was offered and includes postage + new impressions, as opposed to the £215 normal). Plus, Lee Kennedy back in the day set me up with a certain kind of filters inside the Mi-1's as I found the standard sound to be a bit ... opposite of intimate ... and a bit, well I can't remember but I did review them and Lee fixed me up with a custom filter set which was epic for my tastes. There's no guarantee I'd be able to get those back either.

 

As far as customs go I've only ever had the Mi's and those were fantastic. I'm not sure I'd like to risk £100 and more I'm assuming for impressions and other bits on new, single driver custom made from acrylic. They could be fine but it's a fair chunk of change and I know universals are reasonably comfortable for my ears with single/double/tripled flange silicone or Comply foam tips.

 

Until I get financially back on my feet, £100'ish is the max I can spend and I think it's likely to be best spent on some universals. I can't live with my Dad's Meelcs for another week :D

post #12269 of 14362
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
 

 

 

Seems like the Yamaha EPH-100 would be a great fit for you. Last I checked it was around $115 on amazon with a few used ones available for less.

 

Other than that the FXT90 should be a decent fit. It doesn't have the best deep bass but it has good impact, certainly not worse than the SP51 on the medium setting you were using.


The Brookstone Dual isn't that bassy, either. I do have one but it's broken on me twice so I have been putting off the review. Great sound, just don't really trust the construction.

 

 

or try the Moe SS01!

post #12270 of 14362

Wow! They are little over my budget, but I like the design (otherwise is also long as the MEE SP51).

 

BTW what about the Sunrise? You gave the v1 really high rating, and what I read, the version IE is only little warmer and with little more bass. That also looks promising...

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