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Multi-IEM Review - 320 IEMs compared (Xiaomi Piston 2 added 08/21/14 p. 958) - Page 772

post #11566 of 14412
joker, when you will post your impressions on Custom Art Music One?
post #11567 of 14412
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post

Yeah that's what I thought. I got it replaced and the second one was almost exactly the same. Measurements of my second one should be on InnerFidelity.

Anyway, it's not a bad earphone and the build quality is fantastic but I'd rather listen to the VC1000 or even GR01. 


Never heard the CKS55x but from what I understand of the ATH lineup, suman is right.
Right, thanks.
post #11568 of 14412
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krismarzyk View Post

joker, when you will post your impressions on Custom Art Music One?

 

In a few weeks. They're in the queue, should be around #300 posted. 

post #11569 of 14412
Thread Starter 

Added SteelSeries Flux In-Ear & Flux In-Ear Pro. One more 10/10 with the Flux! 

 

Quote:
 

(3A83) SteelSeries Flux In-Ear

 

Added September 2013

 

Details: dynamic-driver headset from Denmark-based manufacturer of gaming peripherals SteelSeries

Current Price: $49.99 from amazon.com (MSRP: $49.99)

Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 19Ω | Sens: N/A | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 3.9' I-plug

Nozzle Size: 4mm | Preferred tips: stock single-flanges

Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

 

Accessories (3/5) - Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes) and zippered carrying pouch

Build Quality (3.5/5) – The metal-and-plastic housings of the Flux remind me of the HiSoundAudio Crystal in both size and shape. The strain reliefs are not flexible enough for my liking but the narrow, rubbery flat cable works rather well. It holds a single-button inline remote and microphone.

Isolation (4/5) – Good, thanks to slim form factor and well-sealing stock tips

Microphonics (3/5) – Bothersome when worn cable-down; good otherwise

Comfort (4.5/5) – The housings are compact and lightweight, providing an unobtrusive fit that is comfortable for extended listening. The stock tips are of very good quality. The earphones can be worn cable-up as well as cable-down, though the microphone position suffers with over-the-ear wear

 

Sound (8.2/10) – The first dynamic-driver earphone from SteelSeries, the Flux In-Ear uses 6mm transducers and delivers a lively, well-rounded sound that impressed me from the very first listen. The bass has excellent extension and delivers good punch with no bloat. I would put the overall bass quantity on-par with the VSonic GR07 Bass Edition – like the VSonics, the Flux offers more impact than strictly neutral earphones such as the HiFiMan RE-400 but retains better accuracy than properly bass-heavy sets. 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.

 

The midrange of the Flux is among clearest I’ve heard in the price range and maintains a neutral-to-warm tone. The mids are a little recessed compared to sets such as the RE-400 and Dunu’s Tai Chi model, as well as the pricier Flux In-Ear Pro. This is not to say the Flux sounds severely v-shaped – rather, it is balanced-sounding with just a bit of a bass enhancement and crisp, prominent treble. 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. It’s not nearly as prone to sibilance as many of the popular VSonic models and makes sets that are more laid-back at the top, such as the Dunu Tai Chi, sound dull and smoothed-over in comparison.

 

The presentation of the Flux fits in with the overall signature, being neither as forward and mid-centric as that of the HiFiMan RE-400, not as wide and out-of-the-head as that of the VSonic GR07. The good top-to-bottom extension, bass control, and overall balance of the Flux all help make sure that no elements of the sound are lost, in keeping with SteelSeries earphones being marketed for gaming as well as music.

 

Select Comparisons

 

Sony MH1C ($38)

 

Last year, Sony’s MH1C model took the audiophile scene by storm as one of the best bang-per-buck in-ears on the market, making it a great benchmark for the new SteelSeries earphones. The MH1C offers a little more bass impact and a warmer tone than the Flux at the expense of greater bass bloat. The Flux has tighter bass compared to the Sony, and less of it, but still maintains great extension and good impact. The Flux also has more treble presence whereas the MH1C is a little smoother up top and a touch more spacious. From a user-friendliness perspective, the appeal of the MH1C is limited slightly by the annoying j-cord setup and Sony Xperia remote whereas the Flux has a universal one-button remote and standard y-type cable.

 

HiSoundAudio Crystal ($99)

 

The Crystal may be significantly more expensive than the Flux, but the two earphones have quite a lot in common. They are similar in size and shape, similar in fit, and, as it turns out, similar in audio quality as well. I’ve always considered the Crystal to be a very solid earphone – a more balanced but similarly well-isolating alternative to the popular Shure SE215. Happily, the Flux offers all that at a fraction of the price. Compared to the Crystal, it has a warmer tone and more bass presence. The midrange of the Flux is a little less prominent, making it sound a touch more v-shaped, and its treble – slightly smoother. The Crystal, on the hand, is brighter and boasts more prominent mids. It has a slight advantage in midrange clarity but also sounds more harsh and prone to exposing sibilance.

 

SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro ($130)

 

SteelSeries’ two in-ear monitors are both impressive performers but the sound quality difference between them isn’t as great as the price suggests. The armature-based Flux In-Ear Pro is flatter and more accurate, with more prominent mids, less bass, and smoother treble compared to the dynamic-driver Flux. It is also more sensitive, requiring less power to reach listening volumes.

 

The cheaper Flux model, on the other hand, boasts more bass and appears to have better bass depth. In terms of clarity the two are very close, with the more prominent treble of the Flux sometimes giving it an edge in vocal intelligibility. That same treble can sound a little grainy compared to the Flux In-Ear Pro but overall the two aren’t far apart. The soundstages of both earphones are similarly well-rounded but the Flux can be a little more dynamic at times.

 

Value (10/10) – The SteelSeries Flux In-Ear headset is one of the very best mid-range earphones I’ve heard to date, delivering fantastic sound quality per dollar with  punchy, extended bass, good treble energy, and excellent clarity. SteelSeries’ freshman effort beats many higher-priced products from brands that have had years to refine their in-ear offerings, making its performance all the more impressive. The only shortcoming is the cable, which could use better strain relief and tends to be noisy when the earphones are worn cord-down, but it’s a small caveat on what is undoubtedly one of the best-performing earphones in its class.

 

Pros: Excellent sound quality; small & comfortable design

Cons: Cable is noisy when worn straight down

 

 

(2B24) SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro

 

Added September 2013

 

Details: Single balanced armature headset for gaming and music

Current Price: $129.99 from amazon (MSRP: $129.99)

Specs: Driver: BA | Imp: 26Ω | Sens: 105 dB | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 4' L-plug

Nozzle Size: 3.5mm | Preferred tips: stock single-flanges

Wear Style: Over-the-ear

 

Accessories (4.5/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), Comply foam tips, proprietary PC adapter, proprietary smartphone adapter/connector, cable guides, and semi-rigid zippered carrying case

Build Quality (4/5) – The plastic shells of the Flux In-Ear Pro look like a combination of the Phonak PFE and Brainwavz M3 designs. Above the y-split, the cable is of average thickness and features an inline microphone and single-button remote. Below the y-split, the cable is thick and flat, terminating in a proprietary 8-pin connector. From there, one of two included terminations can be used – a 4-pole L-plug form smartphones and other portable devices, or separate microphone and stereo audio plugs for use with a PC

Isolation (3/5) – Average for an armature-based set

Microphonics (4/5) – Good with over-the-ear wear, average otherwise

Comfort (4.5/5) – The fit of the Flux In-Ear Pro reminds me of Phonak’s defunct “Perfect Fit” earphones, which remains one of the most comfortable in-ears I’ve tried to date. The Flux Pro is a little larger but otherwise fits similarly. Though advertised as wearable either cable-up or cable-down, the earphone requires the channels to be swapped for comfortable cable-down wear

 

Sound (8.5/10) – The SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro is the company’s higher-end in-ear offering and is priced similarly to a number of other balanced armature earphones on the market. Overall, it is a good performer – well-balanced, with good bass depth and smooth, gentle treble. Bass extension and impact are rather impressive for a single BA – punch is about on-par with the HiFiMan RE-400 and MEElectronics A161P, though not quite as tight, and on bass-heavy tracks the low end definitely hits harder than one might expect from a single armature, exhibiting good depth and rumble.

 

The midrange of the Flux In-Ear Pro is nice and prominent – a little less clear compared to the Etymotic Research HF5 and HiFiMan RE-400, but still good. It is smooth and not overly prominent, with a slightly warm tone and no discernible grain. At the top, the Flux Pro is again smooth and refined – more so, for example, than the MEElec A161P. It sounds a bit duller than the MEElecs but the more forgiving treble presentation is likely worth the lack of energy for many listeners.  

 

The presentation of the Flux In-Ear Pro is highly reminiscent of the Ultimate Ears 600. It boasts good width but only average depth and layering, especially when compared to higher-end sets. While wide, the soundstage of the Flux Pro is not as airy as that of the HiFiMan RE-400, for example. The less expensive Flux model, too, occasionally has the upper hand when it comes to soundstage depth and dynamics.

 

Select Comparisons

 

SteelSeries Flux In-Ear ($50)

 

SteelSeries’ two in-ear monitors are both impressive performers but the sound quality difference between them isn’t as great as the price suggests. The armature-based Flux In-Ear Pro is flatter and more accurate, with more prominent mids, less bass, and smoother treble compared to the dynamic-driver Flux. It is also more sensitive, requiring less power to reach listening volumes.

 

The cheaper Flux model, on the other hand, boasts more bass and appears to have better bass depth. In terms of clarity the two are very close, with the more prominent treble of the Flux sometimes giving it an edge in vocal intelligibility. That same treble can sound a little grainy compared to the Flux In-Ear Pro but overall the two aren’t far apart. The soundstages of both earphones are similarly well-rounded but the Flux can be a little more dynamic at times.

 

Logitech Ultimate Ears 600vi ($70)

 

UE’s only remaining single-armature model, the UE600vi, is a direct competitor of the Flux In-Ear Pro. It is one of my favorite single-armature earphones, offering a slightly mid-centric sound with smooth, refined treble. The Flux Pro has a more balanced midrange presentation – while more mid-centric than, say, the dynamic-driver Flux, it emphasizes mids less than the UE600 does. It also has a bit more bass impact and better depth – always welcome traits in a single balanced armature earphone. The downside of the Flux Pro favoring bass over the midrange is a slight drop in clarity compared to the UE600. The treble, too, seems to be a bit duller on the Flux while the UE sounds a little more crisp and transparent.

 

The UE600 has a source matching caveat, however – it prefers sources with very low output impedance. The Flux In-Ear Pro is less sensitive and has higher impedance, sounding more consistent between sources – a definite plus for gamers and others planning to use them with a variety of audio devices.

 

VSonic VC1000 ($137)

 

VSonic’s dual-driver monitor is a bright and crisp-sounding affair, offering a major sonic contrast to the warmer, smoother Flux In-Ear Pro. Compared to the impossibly tight VC1000, the Flux Pro sounds bassier and boomier, with a warmer tone and poorer clarity, especially in the midrange. The VC1000 also provides quite a lot more treble energy at the expense of being very unforgiving when it comes to sibilance and harshness. The Flux Pro, while more dull-sounding, sounds a lot smoother and doesn’t butcher poorly-mastered tracks.

 

Value (8.5/10) – The SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro is a solid single-armature earphone that accomplishes what it sets out to do, providing a balanced and accurate audio experience with a feature set that also makes it suitable for gaming. The over-the-ear form factor is comfortable and unobtrusive and the included PC headset adapter is a nice touch – I’ve only seen one other higher-end earphone ship with one (the MEElec A161P). Overall, while the Flux In-Ear Pro may not be as shockingly good a value as the regular Flux, it certainly delivers solid audio performance while asking little in the way of concessions.

 

Pros: Comfortable form factor; good overall sound quality; PC- and smartphone-compatible

Cons: Cable-down wear requires swapping left and right channels

post #11570 of 14412

Steelseries in ear caught my interest :) Thanks for the info and detailed review joker! cheers will grab one asap!

post #11571 of 14412
@ ljokerl

Thanks for the great reviews!
post #11572 of 14412
I'm looking for an iem to complement my current pair, Audio Technica CK10's. While I'm really happy with these and literally use them for hours a day, I would like to have something different available at times. I also sometimes feel the ck10's timbre and decay make things sound a bit unnatural, especially cellos and violins (of course those are the instruments I'm most familiar with).

Would you have any specific recommendations for something to go along with a ck10? Looking through your reviews I was considering the re400 since it's a dynamic and a little warmer, but I'm worried that might be too similar. Is the sound pretty different from the ck10 or should I be looking in another direction altogether?
post #11573 of 14412

I'm looking for a pair of iems that have neutral bass, very fluid and non-sibilant highs and great detail in the price range of 160$. If there's nothing along these lines in this price range something first above it that meet the requirements. I'd also like to mention that I find phonak audeo ofe 112 with grey filters or etymotic hf3 to generate sibilance and sound harsh at times. Any recommendations?

post #11574 of 14412
Quote:
Originally Posted by NimbleRabit View Post

I'm looking for an iem to complement my current pair, Audio Technica CK10's. While I'm really happy with these and literally use them for hours a day, I would like to have something different available at times. I also sometimes feel the ck10's timbre and decay make things sound a bit unnatural, especially cellos and violins (of course those are the instruments I'm most familiar with).

Would you have any specific recommendations for something to go along with a ck10? Looking through your reviews I was considering the re400 since it's a dynamic and a little warmer, but I'm worried that might be too similar. Is the sound pretty different from the ck10 or should I be looking in another direction altogether?

They are not too similar. The RE400 would be my suggestion. It's on the warmer side of neutral, whereas the ck10 can be a bit on the bright side of neutral; and is much more polite with longer decay than the ck10. Also it's petty tiny in its own right. It should be a very nice compliment.

I don't think you'd want to go excessively warm and bassy. Maybe something more mid centric might be fun, like the discontinued re262...
post #11575 of 14412
Quote:
Originally Posted by muzikfrrrik View Post

I'm looking for a pair of iems that have neutral bass, very fluid and non-sibilant highs and great detail in the price range of 160$. If there's nothing along these lines in this price range something first above it that meet the requirements. I'd also like to mention that I find phonak audeo ofe 112 with grey filters or etymotic hf3 to generate sibilance and sound harsh at times. Any recommendations?

I find that Rockit R-50 with comply tips and an impedance adapter (should be included), sounds very smooth up top with neutral bass. Stock tips are horrible and sibilant. For me the comply tips are a must. Might take away too much but I've found that I like the less peaky and very smooth sounding treble which to me sounds more detailed however less prominent. I can strongly recommend it.
post #11576 of 14412
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by papijoe08 View Post
 

Steelseries in ear caught my interest :) Thanks for the info and detailed review joker! cheers will grab one asap!

 

Hope you like 'em - they really hit the spot for me ;)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy C View Post

@ ljokerl

Thanks for the great reviews!

:beerchug:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NimbleRabit View Post

I'm looking for an iem to complement my current pair, Audio Technica CK10's. While I'm really happy with these and literally use them for hours a day, I would like to have something different available at times. I also sometimes feel the ck10's timbre and decay make things sound a bit unnatural, especially cellos and violins (of course those are the instruments I'm most familiar with).

Would you have any specific recommendations for something to go along with a ck10? Looking through your reviews I was considering the re400 since it's a dynamic and a little warmer, but I'm worried that might be too similar. Is the sound pretty different from the ck10 or should I be looking in another direction altogether?

 

I agree with shotgunshane - the RE-400 is a good match. Who knows, you might even like its take on "neutral" better than that of the CK10s, and it's not all that expensive. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by muzikfrrrik View Post
 

I'm looking for a pair of iems that have neutral bass, very fluid and non-sibilant highs and great detail in the price range of 160$. If there's nothing along these lines in this price range something first above it that meet the requirements. I'd also like to mention that I find phonak audeo ofe 112 with grey filters or etymotic hf3 to generate sibilance and sound harsh at times. Any recommendations?

 

HiFiMan RE-400 should be a good fit. Its treble is rather polite despite it being a balanced-sounding earphone.

post #11577 of 14412

With the new Flux review...i was wondering:

just how much is the cable better than the MH1C's?

what bothered me most about the Sonys' cable wasn't the J-cord config.,

but the behavior of the cable itself. even if i use the cable clip,

and the tips seal my ears with suction, any movement of the head

causes horrendous cable noise and the phones slip out of my ears!

so i was wondering if the Flux has a better cable...

Thank you Joker !!

post #11578 of 14412
I was just going to purchase the Vsonic VDS1's until I came across your review of the SteelSeries Flux In-ear IEMs. How would you compare the two(which one has a better soundstage[depth and width])? I have the Quadbeats and I would prefer something that's similar to it sound signature wise. Also, I would also like to add that I listen to Rap, R&B, Pop (mostly female voalist's), jazz with a little country mixed in so I'd prefer the more versatile one of the two.
post #11579 of 14412
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amitl View Post
 

With the new Flux review...i was wondering:

just how much is the cable better than the MH1C's?

what bothered me most about the Sonys' cable wasn't the J-cord config.,

but the behavior of the cable itself. even if i use the cable clip,

and the tips seal my ears with suction, any movement of the head

causes horrendous cable noise and the phones slip out of my ears!

so i was wondering if the Flux has a better cable...

Thank you Joker !!

 

Honestly, the cable quality is not that different - the biggest difference is that the MH1C cable is thicker and more stiff while the Flux cable is soft and flexible. If you're going to wear them cord-down the cable will still be noisy.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SyCo87 View Post

I was just going to purchase the Vsonic VDS1's until I came across your review of the SteelSeries Flux In-ear IEMs. How would you compare the two(which one has a better soundstage[depth and width])? I have the Quadbeats and I would prefer something that's similar to it sound signature wise. Also, I would also like to add that I listen to Rap, R&B, Pop (mostly female voalist's), jazz with a little country mixed in so I'd prefer the more versatile one of the two.

 

The Flux is a little warmer and more smooth than the VSD1, but not quite as wide in terms of presentation. Compared to the Quadbeat, the Flux has more solid bass and sounds thicker and richer but again doesn't have the soundstage size of the LG. If that's what you're after, the VSD1S would be a better option, probably.  

post #11580 of 14412
Quote:

HiFiMan RE-400 should be a good fit. Its treble is rather polite despite it being a balanced-sounding earphone.

 

And if you were to recommend a pair that has BAs what would it be?

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