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Multi-IEM Review - 320 IEMs compared (Xiaomi Piston 2 added 08/21/14 p. 958) - Page 884

post #13246 of 14470
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by james444 View Post
 

 

Awesome! Having only used the SBH80 myself for a few days, I'm honestly impressed. Everything about it seems very well thought out. Except maybe for the travel case, that is. ;)

 

Oh, and I had to smile about this one:

 

Nice foresight there :beerchug:. I realize now that my first Bluetooth set, the Sennheiser MM400, was a little early and the state of the technology back then resulted in a headphone that just couldn't justify its price. Things have definitely changed, especially on the pricing side.   

post #13247 of 14470
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
 

 

The Wooduo2 is something that's really only suitable for bassheads. The GR02 is bassier than the VSD1 by a margin, but the VSD1 is not lacking in bass compared to a flat/neutral sound. I quite like it.

 

Is that $20 for a bulk-package MH1C? If so that's not too far off what the US prices were before they got very popular. It's a darker, warmer sound compared to the VSD1, for example, but hard not to recommend at this price even with the crap cable.

 

PS you might also want to try a Philips SHE3580 or SHE3590 - they're very inexpensive and close to the GR02BE in sound quality. 

 

Will it make sense to get both the MH1C and the VSD1? 

post #13248 of 14470
I just got my 9927's.
A quick word on them from someone who can't accurately use fancy audiophile terms.
Bass: Nice amount; not muddy, but not lacking.
Mids: Vocals sound fine, although, I prefer male voices on these a bit more than female voices.
Highs: Fine? Nothing peircing and unnatural sounding.
Soundstage: Difficult to describe without using terms that I don't know the meaning of. The soundstage sounds more open and unique than IEM's I've tried (not many).

A quick note- I amm actually hearing instruments that I had never heard before in songs that I know pretty well.

Caution: The words above are extremely subjective, so YMMV.

-Seb
post #13249 of 14470
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
 

 

Nice foresight there :beerchug:. I realize now that my first Bluetooth set, the Sennheiser MM400, was a little early and the state of the technology back then resulted in a headphone that just couldn't justify its price. Things have definitely changed, especially on the pricing side.   

One thing though, the Sony SBH80 is currently $100 on Amazon, the comparable (sound wise) MH1 is $15.

 

The future may be wireless but that future will arrive more rapidly when the price differential closes.

post #13250 of 14470
Quote:
Originally Posted by james444 View Post

Awesome! Having only used the SBH80 myself for a few days, I'm honestly impressed. Everything about it seems very well thought out. Except maybe for the travel case, that is. wink.gif

Oh, and I had to smile about this one:

beerchug.gif  

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post

Nice foresight there beerchug.gif . I realize now that my first Bluetooth set, the Sennheiser MM400, was a little early and the state of the technology back then resulted in a headphone that just couldn't justify its price. Things have definitely changed, especially on the pricing side.   

Do you guys think that it's more the future of portable audio on the consumer side or on the more niche audiophile market side?

I'm really asking because I'm guessing it would likely be very little time until someone goes "but you're limited to the [crappy] built in DAC and amp..."
post #13251 of 14470
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadHoncho View Post
 

 

Will it make sense to get both the MH1C and the VSD1? 

 

Different sound signatures, so yes. Makes even more sense if you can return the one you like less.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviltooth View Post
 

One thing though, the Sony SBH80 is currently $100 on Amazon, the comparable (sound wise) MH1 is $15.

 

The future may be wireless but that future will arrive more rapidly when the price differential closes.

 

True, but to be fair the MH1 is more the exception than the rule. The US MSRP of a retail-packaged MH1C is $79.99 which isn't so far off the SBH80. In any case, wireless will never be as cheap as wired, but there's also some inherent convenience value in it, as well as compatibility, etc.

 

For what it's worth, the $50 MEElectronics AF32 I tried last week sounds better than the $200 Sennheiser MM400 I've been using for years so even among conventional wireless cans the price/performance ratio seems to be improving as more players enter the market. Same thing that happened with in-ears five or six years ago.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vwinter View Post



Do you guys think that it's more the future of portable audio on the consumer side or on the more niche audiophile market side?

I'm really asking because I'm guessing it would likely be very little time until someone goes "but you're limited to the [crappy] built in DAC and amp..."

 

If we're talking the top 1% who buy boutique universals and portable amps, probably not for a while. But the more general niche of people who care enough about sound quality to pick up a Triple.Fi 10 or IE80, I think so, at least if it can be demonstrated that you're not sacrificing a lot in the way of performance. 

 

Regarding the built-in amp/DAC, IMO that's where Hi-Fi manufacturers can distinguish themselves by using decent quality components and optimizing the whole chain for their drivers. Imagine how much control over the sound it gives to someone who really knows what they are doing. It'll eliminate concerns like synergy and source matching as the designer of the headphone/earphone will be able to do all that work. Plus, there's the possibility of fine-tuning the sound or even providing different sound signatures via built-in DSP. All that's really needed is a transmission protocol that can support a sufficiently hi-res digital stream from the source to the headphone.

 

Maybe Bluetooth won't be the answer, maybe the answer is some sort of point-to-point wireless. I guess we'll see when we get there.

post #13252 of 14470
Quote:
Originally Posted by vwinter View Post

Do you guys think that it's more the future of portable audio on the consumer side or on the more niche audiophile market side?

I'm really asking because I'm guessing it would likely be very little time until someone goes "but you're limited to the [crappy] built in DAC and amp..."

 

I don't think miniaturization will be a bottleneck in the long run. Just look at tiny USB DACs like the HRT microStreamer or Audioquest DragonFly and imagine similarly high-grade components in a neckband design like the SBH80's.

 

The main reason why I think it will be more on the consumer side, is that audiophiles usually don't care much about convenience and usability, which are the main selling points for wireless audio. By some strange twisted logic, some even seem to think that inconvenience and bad usability are proof for a "no-compromise" design and the fact that the manufacturer in question focuses solely on sound quality. So, unless someone comes up with a genius idea on how transmitting an audio signal across a short stretch of air filters out unwanted jitter or something like that, I personally don't see wireless audio hitting the audiophile boutique market anytime soon. ;) 

post #13253 of 14470
I would love wireless iem that sounded like either GR07 V/BE or Tpeos H200's. Hows Bluetooth on battery drain these days?
post #13254 of 14470
Thread Starter 

Added the Fidue A63

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
 

 

(3A84) Fidue A63


Reviewed March 2014

Details: One of the first IEM releases from China-based Fidue
MSRP: est. $65 (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $60 from amazon.com; $59 from ebay.com
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 101 dB | Freq: 18-21k Hz | Cable: 3.9′ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 5mm | Preferred tips: Stock bi-flanges, MEElec M6 single-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear (preferred)

Accessories (3/5) – Single-flange (3 sizes) and bi-flange (2 sizes) silicone tips; soft carrying pouch
Build Quality (4/5) – The A63 features aluminum shells and cabling identical to my older ViSang and Brainwavz earphones – internally braided and covered in a smooth, glossy sheath. It’s a little stiff and lacks a cable cinch but in my experience these cables tend to be quite durable. I also like the soft strain reliefs where the cables enter the housings, as well as on the aluminum I-plug and y-split. A raised dot on the right strain relief makes the earpieces easy to tell apart in the dark
Isolation (3/5) – Isolation is about average for this type of earphone
Microphonics (4/5) – Present when worn cable-down; low otherwise
Comfort (3/5) – While the A63 is lightweight and not too large, I did have an issue with the housings – the metal ridges at the rear are quite tall and sharp. The corners hurt after a while unless I either switch to bi-flanges and position the housings farther in the ear, or simply wear them cable-up. Not a deal breaker, but I would have preferred smoother housings nonetheless

Sound (8.2/10) – If there was one sound signature I could single out as being unpopular with manufacturers of reasonably-priced in-ears, it would be mid-forward sound. There are a few good earphones with forward mids, but the vast majority of budget in-ears are either bass-focused or v-shaped. A solid mid-forward set is a rarity, which is why I was intrigued by the Fidue A63 from the start.

The A63 is a punchy earphone, but not downright bass-heavy, and presents a mild mid-bass “hump”. On the whole it has less bass, especially deep bass, compared to the popular Sony MH1C, but bass control is similar between them due to the more midbass-oriented nature of the A63. Next to the VSonic GR02 Bass Edition, however, the low end of the A63 is significantly tighter and cleaner. That’s not to say that the bass is in any way lacking in quantity – the similarly-priced Astrotec AM-800, another capable dynamic-driver earphone, is rather light on impact compared to the A63.

The Fidue A63 sounds quite clear and impressively detailed through the midrange. The prominent mids provide absolutely fantastic vocal clarity compared to most mid-range IEMs. The Sony MH1C, for example, sounds mid-recessed and has poorer vocal intelligibility next to the stronger midrange of the A63. The rather v-shaped GR02 Bass Edition, likewise, has very recessed mids and misses out on much of the clarity (the GR02 is, generally speaking, the inverse of the A63 in sound signature). Only the brighter-sounding Astrotec AM-800 manages to keep up with the A63 in midrange clarity at the expense of sounding more harsh and sibilance-prone.

At the top, the A63 is pretty smooth and inoffensive. It’s not quite as forgiving and refined as the Sony MH1C, but the Sony is more an exception than the rule. The A63 definitely has an upper hand in treble quality on brighter earphones such as the VSonic GR02 BE and Astrotec AM-800. Maybe it isn’t for fans of energetic, sparkly top ends but I much prefer this approach to treble that brutalizes bad recordings and sensitive ears. The soundstage is as one would expect – the A63 is a spacious earphone that presents a good soundtage without compression or congestion, but the forward mids pretty much guarantee that it won’t sound as out-of-the-head as, say, a VSonic GR07 or Fidue’s higher-end A81 model. That said, for the price there’s certainly nothing wrong with the presentation of the A63.

Select Comparisons

VSonic VSD1S ($45)

Like so many of the best-performing budget sets, the VSD1S emphasizes both its bass and treble for a lively, v-shaped sound. It has more bass impact than the A63 and presents a warmer tonal character and more full-bodied sound. The A63 has less bass and more prominent mids, which at times give vocals greater intelligibility compared to the VSonics. The VSD1S is brighter and more sibilant compared to the A63, which has smoother, less prominent treble. Both earphones impress on the soundstage front and are as spacious and well-layered as anything I’ve heard in the price bracket.

SteelSeries Flux ($50)

These two earphones lean only slightly on different sides of “balanced”, with the Flux coming out just a touch v-shaped and the A63 going the opposite way. They have similar bass quantity overall but the Flux boasts better extension and more subbass presence. Its mids, however, are a little recessed while those of the Fidue A63 are prominent. At times, this gives the A63 better vocal clarity and intelligibility. The A63 also places more emphasis on its upper midrange while the Flux is a touch smoother all the way through the treble. As a result, it tends to be a bit more forgiving when it comes to harshness and sibilance. There is also a large difference in efficiency between the two earphones, with the A63 being significantly more sensitive.

MOE-SS01 ($65)

The somewhat v-shaped MOE-SS01 makes for a strong contrast to the mid-forward Fidue A63. The SS01 impresses most with its bass depth, which is superior to the A63, and clarity, which is about on-par with the Fidue set. The A63 has similar bass punch to the SS01 but is more midbass-oriented and warmer in tone. Despite this, its strong mids manage to avoid veiling quite well and maintain good vocal clarity. The SS01 has more upper midrange and treble presence and sounds more harsh and splashy than the relatively smooth A63.

Dunu DN-23 Landmine ($69)

Dunu’s mid-range Landmine model is a warm, bass-heavy earphone that also has good presence in the midrange. Compared to the Fidue A63, the bass of the Landmine is noticeably more powerful, but also more bloated. The low end of the A63 is tighter and cleaner, though perhaps less well-suited for bass lovers. The mids of the Landmine are prominent, but still sound veiled thanks to the plentiful bass. The A63 sounds clearer and more balanced. The two earphones differ less in the treble region, with the DN-23 being only a touch smoother.

Value (8.5/10) – The Fidue A63 may be the company’s first mid-range in-ear monitor, but it ticks pretty much all the boxes for sound quality. Solid bass impact and strong midrange presence are complemented by an uncongested soundstage and treble that is neither harsh nor sibilant. I like the construction, as well. The only downside is that the sharp edges of the housings necessitate some fiddling to find a truly comfortable fit, especially for those with small outer ears – a small concession as there are precious few IEMs that can hope to keep up with the A63 in intelligibility, but it takes away slightly from what is otherwise an outstanding design.

Pros: Excellent sound quality and solid construction
Cons: Housings have sharp corners

 

The overall ranking has been updated here

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnityIsPower View Post

I would love wireless iem that sounded like either GR07 V/BE or Tpeos H200's. Hows Bluetooth on battery drain these days?

 

Battery drain on the source? It's hard to eliminate all other factors but I haven't found it to make a big difference with my Nexus 5 or iPod Touch.

post #13255 of 14470

hi

|joker| thanks for the A63 review. i brought the a63 after your recommendation.

i just received it today and currently i am listening.

sound signature is so easy that i can keep it for hours.

when will you review the A81?

post #13256 of 14470
The source and the device itself but that's good to hear joker.
post #13257 of 14470
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbose View Post
 

hi

|joker| thanks for the A63 review. i brought the a63 after your recommendation.

i just received it today and currently i am listening.

sound signature is so easy that i can keep it for hours.

when will you review the A81?

 

The A81 sounds quite different - it’s bassier and has more of a v-shaped sound signature to it with brighter treble as well. I’m not as impressed with its value proposition as I am with the A63 so it’s low on the priority list for a review.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnityIsPower View Post

The source and the device itself but that's good to hear joker.

 

For wireless in-ears good battery life will be a challenge but with full-size or even portable headphones you can fit a nice and large battery in. I got a press release the other day for a full-size Bluetooth set advertised at 40 hours of playback per charge. Averaging 2 hours of use per day that’s almost 3 weeks without a charge. Crazy.  

post #13258 of 14470

ljokerl, I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful reviews.  I picked up a pair of Brainwavz M1's after reading a lot of your reviews, and you're absolutely right.  For the price, it is an incredible deal. 

post #13259 of 14470
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kuhchuk View Post
 

ljokerl, I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful reviews.  I picked up a pair of Brainwavz M1's after reading a lot of your reviews, and you're absolutely right.  For the price, it is an incredible deal. 

 

Thanks, glad you're enjoying the M1! :beerchug: 

post #13260 of 14470

Hi Joker,

 

Thanks for all the great reviews, it's a brilliant resource.

 

I recently had the VSD1 and VSD1S but they both fell apart pretty quick, so I got the Astrotec AM-800 as a replacement. I found the VSD1S a little dark sounding, I prefer more sparkly treble, how do you think the AM-800 would compare? Also the bass quantity on both models was exactly to my liking, above neutral but not overbaring; although I found the delivery of bass to be a little soft (lacking that satisfying slam from a kick drum for example), How would you compare the AM-800 to the VSD1/S in this instance? I own the Vsonic R02 silver and while i like them, I find them a little bass light, do the AM-800 have more bass than these?Also, Astrotec seem to have released a number of new models in the sub $50 and sub $100 range, (AM-600, AM-900, AX30, AX35) any plans to review any of these?

 

Thanks,


Edited by Cunnifferous - 3/19/14 at 12:31pm
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