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Multi-IEM Review - 319 IEMs compared (T-Peos D200R added 08/01/14 p. 947) - Page 291

post #4351 of 14356

I really enjoyed the ESW9a for the brief time that I had it. Probably one I would have liked to keep, but alas I was in a crazy trading mood and out it went. I don't even remember what I got for it.

post #4352 of 14356
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nickknutson View Post

Dang, son! This is quite an impressive thread! I've been away from the HP game for a few years, came back looking for some earphones for my laptop and found this amazing write-up!

 

Thank you!


Thanks, glad it was useful.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirian View Post

I need IEM's for iPod Nano 2G for ~ 100$. Any suggestion? Can MEE A151 or CC51 be good?


Sure, both are good depending on what you're after. I like the CC51 better personally.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin Morrow View Post

You should try and review the new Soul IEM's by Ludacris. I've heard they suck, but want to hear your opinion.


I know someone has to do the dirty work but I'd rather review something good instead tongue.gif




Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

People, I knew that if I waited long enough the ESW9 would drop to meet my meagre budget. 269 AUD delivered, at a time when the Pacific Peso is spiralling down to 90 US cents, makes me very, very happy. These cans might not be at the very top of Joker's list, but his impressions were enough to tip me over the edge on the purchase.


I have nothing against the ESW9 - I think it's a pleasant enough listen that looks excellent and has the best leather earpads I've seen on a portable. Enjoy!

post #4353 of 14356
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armaegis View Post

I really enjoyed the ESW9a for the brief time that I had it. Probably one I would have liked to keep, but alas I was in a crazy trading mood and out it went. I don't even remember what I got for it.


3 goats, a Yurt and the hand of a teenage Mongolian girl ? Seriously, what does the 'a' specify in 'ESW9a' ? I didnt know there were variants, but I live a very sheltered life and its tough keeping these goats amused in the Yurt.

 

post #4354 of 14356
Thread Starter 

Added Fischer Audio Tandem and HiSoundAudio Crystal


 

Quote:

(2C42) HiSoundAudio Crystal

HiSoundAudio Crystal 400x300.jpg
Reviewed Oct 2011

Details: First mid-range IEM from Hi-Fi DAP manufacturer HiSound
Current Price: est. $100
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 32Ω | Sens: N/A | Freq: 13-23k Hz | Cable: 3.8’ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 4.5mm | Preferred tips: Stock single-flanges; trimmed MEElec triple-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (3.5/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), shirt clip, and hard clamshell carrying case
Build Quality (4.5/5) – The Crystal may look like a miniature Nuforce NE-6 but it is quite well-constructed, with a 2-piece aluminum shell, rear-mounted strain reliefs, and a sturdy, internally-braided cable a-la ViSang. There is no cable cinch and the cable is terminated with an I-plug but on the whole these really feel like they will go the distance
Isolation (4.5/5) – Very good, especially with some longer aftermarket tips such as trimmed MEElec triple-flanges
Microphonics (3.5/5) – Not bad when worn cable-down; very low otherwise
Comfort (4.5/5) – The Crystal is one of the smallest straight-barrel dynamic-driver IEMs I’ve come across, rivaling the MEElec M11+, and is extremely easy to fit. The eartip selection is much more modest than with the MEEs and there’s no cable cinch but it is still easy to wear both cable-up and cable-down and remains comfortable for hours on end

Sound (8.2/10) – In some ways the sound of the Crystal reminds me of my first experience with the brand well over a year ago in the form of the PAA-1 earbuds. I liked the smooth and warm sound provided by the PAA-1, and I like the Crystal even better. The low end of the Crystal is emphasized but well-controlled, falling a bit above the Sunrise Xcape IE on the bass spectrum. There is no lack of presence but the Crystal is no bass cannon - competitors such as the Sennheiser IE6 and Beyerdynamic DTX 101 iE easily offer up more slam at the expense of sounding bloated and boomy next to the Crystal. While very punchy, the Crystal manages to strike a good balance between impact and control. The 7mm dynamic drivers used by the Crystal are quick and there is no bass bleed, yet most listeners should be pleased with the bass punch and weight the tiny earphone can deliver.

The midrange of the Crystal is recessed slightly next to the low end but not so much as to throw off the overall balance. It is warm and textured in moderation, with the overall refinement near but not quite at the top among earphones in its price range. The Crystal is no RE-ZERO when it comes to clarity and microdetail, either, but it performs better than most. Similarly, though smooth and pleasant, the sound is not quite as liquid as with the Xcape IE or Fischer Audio Tandem. Clearly it is not for those in search of an extremely crisp and analytical listening experience, nor will it please listeners in search of the most lush and seductive sound available. As a middle ground between the two, however, it works rather well.

The treble is reasonably crisp and prominent but usually remains smooth and ends up being a bit laid-back at the very top. There is a touch of grain but it is not particularly harsh or unpleasant. That said, it will reveal sibilance present in tracks, unlike the far more forgiving Xcape IE and Fischer Tandem. The presentation is not huge but it is nicely laid out with good separation and decent but not quite pinpoint-accurate positioning. In terms of size, the soundstage is not as large as with the VSonic GR07 or Sony EX600, nor is the sonic space as well-rounded as it is with the Xcape IE, but it competes well with the likes of the Shure SE215 and Beyerdynamic DTX 101 iE. The presentation is certainly more than good enough for the asking price but I wouldn’t recommend them on its strength alone. Rather, it is as an overall package that the sound of the Crystal makes sense – friendly towards both the mainstream listener and the audiophile with ample warmth and good overall balance but no overblown bass or analytical edge.

Value (9/10) – The HiSoundAudio Crystal is an impressive mid-level in-ear from a company that clearly focuses on more than just sound quality. Simply put, the earphones boast one of the best form factors among all dynamic-driver IEMs, offering excellent ergonomics, high levels of noise isolation, and a well thought-out construction. The performance, too, is nothing to be ashamed of, competing very well with consumer favorites such as the Shure SE215. It is possible to find something that sounds slightly better than the Crystal, especially with a particular sound signature in mind, but as an all-rounder this tiny in-ear is one of the better ones I’ve come across.

Pros: Small, lightweight, and comfortable; good isolation; very well-built; good overall sound quality
Cons: N/A

 

 

Quote:

(2B10) Fischer Audio Tandem

Fischer Audio Tandem 400x300.jpg
Reviewed Oct 2011

Details: Fischer Audio’s vertical dual dynamic in-ear
Current Price: $129 from gd-audiobase.com (MSRP: $129)
Specs: Driver: Dual Dynamic | Imp: 36Ω | Sens: 105 dB | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 4.1’ 45º-plug
Nozzle Size: 5mm | Preferred tips: stock wide-channel single-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (3/5) – Narrow-tube (4 sizes) and wide-tube (3 sizes) single-flange silicone tips, bi-flange and tri-flange silicone tips, soft drawstring carrying pouch
Build Quality (3.5/5) – The housings of the Tandem are made entirely of matte and glossy plastics, with red and blue trim taking the place of L/R markings. Metal nozzle filters and somewhat tangle-prone nylon-sheathed cables are shared with a few of Fischer’s other models. The lack of strain relief on housings entry is worrisome but not a deal breaker
Isolation (3.5/5) – The Tandem is vented at the rear and can’t be inserted too deeply due to the large housings. Isolation is moderate even with longer eartips
Microphonics (3.5/5) – Reasonable despite the nylon-sheathed cord and lack of shirt clip; good when worn cable-up
Comfort (3/5) – The drivers of the Tandem are oriented parallel to the nozzle, one above the other, resulting in a housing that is elongated vertically. Ergonomics are good considering the size and it can be worn over-the-ear easily but tends to be sensitive to insertion depth and may cause long-term comfort issues for those with smaller ears

Sound (8.6/10) – The sound of the Tandem is extremely smooth and liquid, reminding me in many ways of the Sunrise Xcape IE. The bass has plenty of punch and carries realistic weight. It’s not as deep and powerful as with the Radius dual dynamics but the reach is good and there is a bit more impact compared to the Xcapes. While the overall note presentation is a touch soft and the Tandem doesn’t seem to have the ability to become hard and aggressive the way crisper-sounding IEMs like the HiSound Crystal can, the absence of distracting mid-bass bloat keeps the low end clean and controlled. The Tandem may be a bit slower than the VSonic GR07 and HiSound Crystal but it is quick and resolving enough to make Sennheiser’s IE6 and IE7 - as well as Beyerdynamic’s DTX 101 iE - sound loose and flabby in comparison.

The midrange is lush and very smooth, sharing the liquid and slightly warm character of the Xcape IE. It is not too clear from the specifications but as far as I can tell no crossover is used by the Tandem, meaning that both drivers cover the entire frequency spectrum, and the overall smoothness of the sound may be a testament to that. Balance is good compared to the Radius DDM2, with the Tandem’s mids being more prominent and never becoming overshadowed by the low end. The DDM2 does have an edge in clarity and tends to sound more airy and open but the clarity of the Tandem is still very reasonable. The detail level, too, while not quite a match for Fischer’s own similarly-priced BA-based SBA-03, is good for a mid-range dynamic. Like the Xcape IE, the Tandem really isn’t for those who prefer an analytical edge.

The treble of the Tandem, while not noticeably lacking, is not particularly prominent or energetic. As with the midrange, the overall smoothness is excellent, with no hint of grain or harshness. Extension is not bad but the treble becomes increasingly laid-back towards the top of the spectrum. I won’t say that the Tandem sounds dark but the treble quantity lags slightly behind that of the DDM2 and misses out completely on the upper midrange lift present in so many clarity-focused earphones. As a result, the sound of the Tandem is extremely non-fatiguing and very forgiving – so much so that it makes even the Sennheiser IE7 sound edgy and unpleasant.

The presentation, too, is spacious but not overly enveloping. The soundstage has better width and depth than that of the Sunrise Xcape IE but lags slightly in overall size behind the DDM2. Layering is good and instruments are reasonably well-separated. Despite leaning towards a softer note presentation overall, the Tandem has above-average dynamics and experiences no problems portraying distance or intimacy. Worth noting is one side effect of using dual dynamic drivers – the Tandem is not the most efficient earphone out there and will require a few extra volume notches than many competing earphones to reach listening volume. Sensitivity isn’t an issue, however, and the Tandem will still satisfy at moderate volumes.

Value (8/10) – The Fischer Audio Tandem may be the most versatile dual dynamic I’ve used so far but it still lags behind modern single-driver designs slightly in user-friendliness. The large, toy-like housings do not sit well enough in smaller ears and the included assortment of eartips, while certainly good considering the sensitivity of the Tandem to insertion depth, doesn’t quite make up for the lack of other pack-ins. In terms of sound quality, however, there isn't much to complain about with the Tandem – its signature is not one that impresses immediately but it is very likable and easy to appreciate, especially over long listening sessions. It really is a case of the end result being superior to the sum of its parts and an easy earphone to recommend for those who value balance and smoothness over analytical clarity or monstrous bass.

Pros: Extremely smooth & forgiving sound
Cons: Large housings, mediocre accessory pack

 

 

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

3 goats, a Yurt and the hand of a teenage Mongolian girl ? Seriously, what does the 'a' specify in 'ESW9a' ? I didnt know there were variants, but I live a very sheltered life and its tough keeping these goats amused in the Yurt.

 

 

I think the 'A' just designates the American version. Not sure why the distinction was necessary, maybe each one gets spat in or something.

 


 

post #4355 of 14356
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

3 goats, a Yurt and the hand of a teenage Mongolian girl ? Seriously, what does the 'a' specify in 'ESW9a' ? I didnt know there were variants, but I live a very sheltered life and its tough keeping these goats amused in the Yurt.

 


Aw man, you mean I got gypped out of a mong.... uh, I mean nevermind, I probably got a Sennheiser or something out of it.

 

From what I understand, the "a" is for the non-Japanese market (or maybe specifically American). A lot of companies will issue different model numbers for the same product going to different countries as a means of price control, or something like that. For example, a lot of stuff sold in Canada might have a -C or -CA appended to their product name. You can't price match those items with others that don't have it. Surprise surprise, a bunch of sale prices you see in some less reputable places won't have the designation at the end, which means they probably acquired their goods on the grey market.

 

...or something like that. Don't ask me, I'm no economagist rolleyes.gif

 

post #4356 of 14356

Nice reviews. Spot-on, regarding the Crystal. You really have a lot of patience and efficiency for this stuff as it's elaborate and concise. You appreciate this stuff more when you have used the IEM reviewed and the ones used in comparisons. 

 

I wasn't expecting such a high-SQ rating for the Tandem, then again, I didn't know that was their dynamic flagship. Matter of fact, pretty impressed there are 2 9mm drivers inside that housing, that's like having the RE-Zero driver with a Monster Turbine one. Seeing as how the FXT90 is going to come your way pretty soon, they will make for a good comparison as they are also quite versatile, have a similar approach in signature (though I suspect the FXT90 is more balanced) and have a similar design (dual dynamic with no crossover). 

post #4357 of 14356
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inks View Post

Nice reviews. Spot-on, regarding the Crystal. You really have a lot of patience and efficiency for this stuff as it's elaborate and concise. You appreciate this stuff more when you have used the IEM reviewed and the ones used in comparisons. 

 

I wasn't expecting such a high-SQ rating for the Tandem, then again, I didn't know that was their dynamic flagship. Matter of fact, pretty impressed there are 2 9mm drivers inside that housing, that's like having the RE-Zero driver with a Monster Turbine one. Seeing as how the FXT90 is going to come your way pretty soon, they will make for a good comparison as they are also quite versatile, have a similar approach in signature (though I suspect the FXT90 is more balanced) and have a similar design (dual dynamic with no crossover). 


Thanks. I agree that without a reference point a good portion of these reviews will be utterly meaningless. Leaving A:B comparisons out, however, means I'd have to generalize more and I don't like doing that at all.

 

The Tandem took me a while to appreciate. It's not quite my sort of signature and technically it's not quite there with the GR07s and EX600s and RE262s but it is an interesting exercise and a very 'nice' listen with a non-controversial signature. It is versatile to an extent but really I don't know if you'd want to listen to grimy garage punk or 80s metal with an earphone this smooth. I also don't know how the two drivers of the Tandem differ but I know one is further from the nozzle than the other. With the FXT90 it seems that the diaphragms are made of different material but they are equidistant from the nozzle. Certainly would be interesting to compare the two.

 

post #4358 of 14356

I wonder what's in store for 200!

post #4359 of 14356

Hello peeps,

This is probably one of the best threads around hi-fi for anyone looking to get new IEMs, and I say kudos again to Joker. After looking at the chart and some of the reviews, considering the 4 most important things for me including price, sound quality, comfort and isolation, I think the etymotic research hf5/2/3 is my best bet. But there are some other IEMs on that list that are intriguing, particularly the Audeo Phonak PFE. The VSonic GR07 and Monster Turbine are also looking good too. I plan to use the IEM I get mainly with the upcoming iPhone 4S and maybe occasionally with my desktop computer in conjunction with my Fiio E7/E9 amp if I dont feel like using my HD 598 or SRH 940 cans. All im looking for in an IEM around the $100 to $200 price point is exceptional audio quality, with mids and highs well represented with clarity. Also lively, warm and thumping bass, which I've heard the etymotic research hf lacks somewhat and can make them 'cold' sounding. If anyone here has heard or own any of these IEMs and can give me some insight I would appreciate it. Just want to make sure I'm getting the right IEM for me before committing to  a purchase. Thanx.


Edited by DarkAndroid - 10/6/11 at 10:37am
post #4360 of 14356

I have bought the IE7 with help of you(r thread) and I see you quote the sound of the IE7 lots of times in your reviews of other IEM, why don't you write a review about the IE6/7 it seems you have listen to them quite well.

 

btw, loving the sound of the IE7 now more and more, it's coming closer to the sound of HD595(clarity and highs) thanks again ;)

post #4361 of 14356

can someone explain in short what's "driver flex"? is it something temporary?

post #4362 of 14356

In your opinion is the TF10 the best iem in the 150 price range or is there better? I'm just wondering, i'm pretty content with my Perfect Bass's right now.

post #4363 of 14356

Very interested in the HiSoundAudio Crystal, but can't find anyone who sells them, at least in the US.

post #4364 of 14356

Guys, thanks for the clarification on the ESW9A - it fits in with the way our local distributors are able to gouge Aussies for headphones. I'm happy that I am buying mine from a legit source - the ESW9 is reportedly very popular with the fake crowd - all that bling gets them in.

post #4365 of 14356
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAndroid View Post

Hello peeps,

This is probably one of the best threads around hi-fi for anyone looking to get new IEMs, and I say kudos again to Joker. After looking at the chart and some of the reviews, considering the 4 most important things for me including price, sound quality, comfort and isolation, I think the etymotic research hf5/2/3 is my best bet. But there are some other IEMs on that list that are intriguing, particularly the Audeo Phonak PFE. The VSonic GR07 and Monster Turbine are also looking good too. I plan to use the IEM I get mainly with the upcoming iPhone 4S and maybe occasionally with my desktop computer in conjunction with my Fiio E7/E9 amp if I dont feel like using my HD 598 or SRH 940 cans. All im looking for in an IEM around the $100 to $200 price point is exceptional audio quality, with mids and highs well represented with clarity. Also lively, warm and thumping bass, which I've heard the etymotic research hf lacks somewhat and can make them 'cold' sounding. If anyone here has heard or own any of these IEMs and can give me some insight I would appreciate it. Just want to make sure I'm getting the right IEM for me before committing to  a purchase. Thanx.


I wouldn't go with Ety if you want warm or thumping, or even the PFE or GR07. The Turbines (you should be able to get a Gold or Copper in that price range) are good all-rounders with stronger bass. Not sure how much isolation you need but the ATH-CKM99 is very much worth looking at as well. The new Atrio MG7 is also a good all-rounder despite the huge bass. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpaceCake View Post

I have bought the IE7 with help of you(r thread) and I see you quote the sound of the IE7 lots of times in your reviews of other IEM, why don't you write a review about the IE6/7 it seems you have listen to them quite well.

 

btw, loving the sound of the IE7 now more and more, it's coming closer to the sound of HD595(clarity and highs) thanks again ;)


The IE7 has been a benchmark for me for a while since it does a lot of things right and a couple of things not so right. The IE6 and IE7 are both in my review queue but since they are mine they keep getting postponed.



Quote:
Originally Posted by kanuka View Post

can someone explain in short what's "driver flex"? is it something temporary?


There's a long thread on it somewhere called "would driver flex finally kill IEMs" or something to that extent. It's usually not a problem except when inserting/removing earphones. It is not temporary - I haven't had a flex-prone IEM 'fix' itself on me.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyPuppy View Post

In your opinion is the TF10 the best iem in the 150 price range or is there better? I'm just wondering, i'm pretty content with my Perfect Bass's right now.


I really don't think there is a 'best' in any price range - just good sets that should be split based on preferred sound signature and functionality. I wouldn't rank the TF10 above the RE262 or EX600 or B2 technically, for example, though I am not denying that many would prefer it to those. 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by BHTX View Post

Very interested in the HiSoundAudio Crystal, but can't find anyone who sells them, at least in the US.


Not sure if they have a US retailer at this time but I think you can have them shipped over by lendmeurears or frogbeats.

 

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