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Multi-IEM Review - 330 IEMs compared (Rock Jaw Alfa Genusadded 12/25/14 p. 1021) - Page 412

post #6166 of 15304

Great reviews, I can't believe how much that must have cost you....

post #6167 of 15304
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyQ View Post

Hi Joker,

Congratulations for the thread it is great, and is helping me a lot in deciding which are the best IEM for me. I like very boomy and bassy IEMs, is the IE8 the best in the market with those specs? As well with the ie80 Ive seen in europe its price is going down to 300 USD, do you think that price is reasonable for its quality?


$300 is pretty good for an IE8/IE80 all things considered. Monster MD is the other one I'd maybe take a look at if you're after a higher-end IEM with those requirements.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by twinherohk View Post

Great reviews, I can't believe how much that must have cost you....


Thanks! 

post #6168 of 15304
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyQ View Post

Hi Joker,

Congratulations for the thread it is great, and is helping me a lot in deciding which are the best IEM for me. I like very boomy and bassy IEMs, is the IE8 the best in the market with those specs? As well with the ie80 Ive seen in europe its price is going down to 300 USD, do you think that price is reasonable for its quality?

Where and do these European sites ship to Canada

ops.gif
 

 

post #6169 of 15304
Thread Starter 

Added Klipsch X10 and Sony XBA-4SL

 

Quote:
 

 

(2A23) Klipsch Image X10 / X10i

Klipsch Image X10 400x300.jpg
Reviewed Mar 2012

Details: Tiny single-BA design from Klipsch
Current Price: $155 from amazon.com (MSRP: $349.99); $279 for X10i with microphone
Specs: Driver: BA | Imp: 50Ω | Sens: 110 dB | Freq: 5-19k Hz | Cable: 4.4' L-plug
Nozzle Size: 3mm | Preferred tips: Klipsch oval gels (stock), Sony Hybrids
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (4.5/5) - Single-flange (3 sizes) and bi-flange (2 sizes) oval gel tips, cleaning tool, airplane adapter, 6.3mm adapter, and magnetic-clasp carrying pouch
Build Quality (3/5) – Though the tiny housings of the Image One are made out of metal and feel very solid, the molded strain reliefs are designed rather poorly and seem prone to splitting with extended use. The cable is typical Klipsch – thin and plasitcky. The low-profile 3.5mm L-plug is a nice touch
Isolation (4.5/5) – The slim, long, fully sealed housings allow for great isolation
Microphonics (4.5/5) – Somewhat bothersome when worn cord-down; nearly nonexistent with cable-up wear
Comfort (5/5) – The combination of skinny, lightweight shells and Klipsch’s Oval Gel eartips makes the X10 one of the most comfortable IEMs around. Unlike most Etys, the X10s still sound good with only moderately deep insertion, making them more user-friendly towards IEM newcomers as well

Sound (8.8/10) – Tuned for a mainstream, consumer-friendly sound, the Klipsch Image X10 tends to emphasize the bass and lower midrange – a sharp contrast to its single-armature competitors. The X10 easily beats all other higher-end single-armature earphones I’ve come across when it comes to bass quantity and offers up plenty of quality as well. The low is detailed and extended - the well-textured bass digs deep and offers up the sort of well-measured punch one would normally expect from a multi-armature monitor. The depth and impact of the X10 are actually about on-par with VSonic’s dynamic-driver GR07 monitor, though the mid-bass emphasis is slightly greater. Naturally, the lower-end dynamic-driver Klipsch Image models produce even more bass than the X10 but have none of the poise and precision of a balanced armature, sounding bloated and unrefined next to the flagship.

While the bass depth and punch of the X10 are fairly similar to the VSonic GR07, the two differ greatly in how the midrange is handled. The X10 is warm and full, with a bit of bass bleed resulting in a lack of transparency next to sets such as the GR07, Etymotic HF5, and ACS T15. The GR07 is not only clearer but also more resolving, with more air and openness to its mids and more neutral overall tone. The X10, on the other hand, sounds more forward and intimate, with the prominent midrange putting vocals front-and-center. It is not as forward and aggressive as Fischer Audio’s SBA-03, however, and sounds less like a BA-based earphone with better timbre and a more full-bodied note presentation. The SBA-03, on the other hand, is significantly less colored and more aggressive with presenting detail, so analytical listeners will likely prefer it over the X10s.

The treble of the X10 is much smoother than the uneven, harsh top ends of the Image S3/S4 and the somewhat grainy S2. Most times the top end seems slightly recessed but much to my surprise on a few tracks the X10 managed to be as sibilant as the GR07. Seems that it was tuned to be non-fatiguing but isn’t all that soft – certainly not in the way the dynamic-driver Fischer Tandem or Monster Pro Gold are. Treble detail is decent and the extension is not too bad, but hardly impressive next to an Ety ER4S or JVC FXT90. Clearly the X10 is limited by the single BA setup and was tuned to leave nothing out at the bottom end at the expense of some top-end reach. The treble is low on sparkle and lacks some authority and energy – Klipsch’s now-discontinued Custom 3 is similarly non-fatiguing but appears more balanced overall.

The presentation of the X10 is well-rounded and, like the sound signature, yields no surprises. The soundstage is narrower than those of the CK10, ER4S, and GR07 but has decent width and some height. For a more intimate-sounding earphone, the X10 has a convincing presentation – more so, for example, than the Fischer Audio SBA-03. Instrument separation is decent but no match for the ER4S and 3-D imaging lags noticeably behind the CK10. Dynamics are good, however, and the earphones are efficient enough for portable use without being overly sensitive.

Value (9/10) – The Image X10 is a high-end consumer-oriented IEM that combines the unobtrusive look and feel of the slim, lightweight housings with warm, smooth, punchy sound derived from a single balance armature driver. The X10’s greatest strength is its bass – extended, controlled, and unusually powerful for a single BA. Like all things Klipsch, the X10 is not suited for fans of neutral or analytical sound with its somewhat dull top end and colored midrange, but those in search of a warmer sound in a great form factor will be pleased with the $150 X10.

Pros: Good isolation, very small and comfortable, consumer-friendly sound from a single BA
Cons: Perilous construction

 

Thanks to Inks for the X10 loan

 

 

 

Quote:
 
(1C15) Sony XBA-4SL / XBA-4ip

Sony XBA-4 400x300.jpg
Reviewed Mar 2012

Details: Quad-driver flagship of Sony’s BA line
Current Price: $350 from amazon.com (MSRP: $349.99); $370 for XBA-4iP with microphone
Specs: Driver: Quad BA | Imp: | Sens: 108 dB | Freq: 3-28k Hz | Cable: 2' I-plug j-cord + 3’ L-plug extension
Nozzle Size: 4mm | Preferred tips: Sony Hybrid (stock), Monster Supertips
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (4/5) – Sony Hybrid silicone tips (4 sizes), Hybrid silicone+foam tips (3 sizes), 3’ extension cable, cable winder, and magnetic clasp carrying case
Build Quality (4.5/5) – The housings are made out of plastic but feel well put-together. The cables are slightly flattened in cross section and have very flexible strain reliefs all around.
Isolation (3.5/5) – Quite decent with the ergonomic but shallow-fitting shells Microphonics (4.5/5) - Very low when worn cable-down; nonexistent with over-the-ear wear
Comfort (4/5) – The housings are rather large but nicely designed for a vertical fit a-la JVC FXT90 or Fischer Audio Tandem. The ergonomic nozzle angle helps, as do the smooth surface and rounded edges of the housings. Over-the-ear wear is possible but may require longer eartips than those provided

Sound (9/10) – While Sony’s EX-series dynamic earphones are marketed partly for professional use, the armature sets are clearly oriented towards consumers. This shows through not only in the simplicity of the design – no detachable cables or over-the-ear fitment with any of the XBA models – but also the colored sound of the quad-driver flagship. It is an unlikely role reversal, made all the more interesting by the design of the XBA-4. With an 8-ohm impedance, it is a picky earphone when it comes to source matching – more so even than the 8-ohm Clarity One from Puresound - and sounds downright poor with some audio players, such as an iPod Touch 4G. It sounds much better from a source with low output impedance – such as a Sansa Clip – and better yet from a dedicated source such as my iBasso D10. Surprisingly, despite the relatively high rated sensitivity, the XBA-4 isn’t overly revealing of hiss and other background noises.

When finally matched to a proper source, the bass of the XBA-4 is powerful and full-bodied – far ahead of most armature-based sets in quantity. It is extended and effortless, with no major mid-bass lift and a note presentation leaning towards ‘soft’, rather than ‘crisp’. The bass doesn’t sound as precise as a TWFK-based earphone, and personally I really would prefer cleaner bass from an armature-based earphone, but again I don’t think Sony had accuracy in mind when tuning these. Even next to the dynamic-driver VSonic GR07, the XBA-4 sounds a little warmer and bassier. The armature-based j-Phonic K2 SP, on the other hand, is quicker, tighter, cleaner, and more detailed, with slightly less mid-bass emphasis and fullness but similar depth and punch.

The midrange of the XBA-4 is slightly recessed compared to the bass but there is no bleed and it doesn’t sound overly distant next to other earphones with laid-back presentations, such as the GR07. Despite the lack of bass bleed, the mids of the XBA-4 sound just a touch dark and appear muffled – even veiled- next to clarity-focused earphones such as the K2 SP, the similarly-priced custom ClearTune CTM-200, and – to a more limited extent - the GR07. Even vocals noticeably lack intelligibility next to the K2 SP, CTM-200, and all TWFK-based earphones. Detail and texture levels are quite good, however - on-par with the GR07 but more impressive coupled with the smoother sound of the Sonys.

At the top end the XBA-4 has some of that characteristic Sony unevenness, exaggerating the lower treble slightly as the EX-series monitors tend to do. The XBA-4 does not sound nearly as bright, however, and avoids the mild tendency to exaggerate sibilance that can be present in both the EX600 and the GR07. Unfortunately the top end of the XBA-4 does have a metallic tinge to it that is not present in the dynamic monitors. It wasn’t too noticeable in general listening but those hoping for EX1000-like timbre will be disappointed. Treble extension is moderate and the XBA-4 doesn’t have great air despite a sizeable soundstage.

The presentation of the XBA-4 is wide and spacious without losing versatility of positioning. Width is similar to the VSonic GR07 but the XBA-4 has better layering for a more 3-D feel. It is adept at conveying both distance and intimacy and ranks above average in headstage size among armature-based IEMs. It’s still not nearly as spacious as the CTM-200 or a Sennheiser IE8 but matches the ATH-CK10 and j-Phonic K2 SP, which is more than I can say for high-end sets from Shure or Westone. It has good separation, too, but there are issues with how it is achieved. With many tracks the XBA-4 very obviously lacks coherency, especially at higher volumes, and sounds downright disjointed compared to single-driver sets such as the GR07. Many are of the opinion that all multi-BA setups sound incoherent but compared to the XBA-4 all of my TWFK-based sets as well as the K2 SP and CTM-200 sound extremely well-integrated. The individualized outputs of the four drivers do enhance the sense of separation, but I can’t help but feel that the single-driver XBA-1 may sound more natural than the quad.

Value (7.5/10) – Sony’s entire new series of BA-based monitors is interesting for several reasons, including the in-house development of the drivers and the consumer-oriented tuning of the earphones. The flagship XBA-4 uses a quad-driver setup with dual dedicated woofers and impresses with its spacious presentation as well as the depth and effortlessness of its low end. Unfortunately, Sony seems to have used extra drivers more as an equalizer than a way of creating a true multi-way system. The differences in voicing between the drivers color the sound and seem to decrease the overall coherency. Still, even if the performance does not stand up to close scrutiny as well as that of the dynamic-driver EX1000, the smooth and powerful sound of the XBA-4 will find fans among those who frown on the more analytical tendencies of so many other BAs.

Pros: User-friendly BA-based set with good bass
Cons: Not a great performer compared to Sony’s dynamic monitors


Big thanks to mascareiro for the XBA-4 loan

 

post #6170 of 15304

i am looking for a iem to companion my dba-02 which has a warmer sound signature with a wider sound stage but hopefully keeping as much of the clarity. i have been looking at dynamics such as the jvc fxt90, sony ex600 and re262. what do you think? thanks

post #6171 of 15304

At last the much awaited XBA-4 review, many thanks! I was looking for an upgrade to my ortofon e-Q5s, but it would seem like these are not it...

 

If I might ask, will there be plans to review the Aurisonics ASG-1/AS-1 at some point in time? These have attained something of an FOTM status and I'm sure many will be interested in a review from yourself.

post #6172 of 15304

Those XBA4s sound disappointing, XBA1 looks impressive though. 

post #6173 of 15304

 

Quote:joker
It has good separation, too, but there are issues with how it is achieved. With many tracks the XBA-4 very obviously lacks coherency, especially at higher volumes, and sounds downright disjointed compared to single-driver sets such as the GR07. Many are of the opinion that all multi-BA setups sound incoherent but compared to the XBA-4 all of my TWFK-based sets as well as the K2 SP and CTM-200 sound extremely well-integrated. The individualized outputs of the four drivers do enhance the sense of separation, but I can’t help but feel that the single-driver XBA-1 may sound more natural than the quad.

Considering the review I'm surprised sound wise they got such a high score of 9. Sounds like they're an overall mixed bag of pluses and minuses.

 

Many thanks for the review joker. Right now I'm rather disillusioned with my X10. I personally hate the thin cord and think the overall formfactor although attractive won't stand the test of time. Right now I'm trying to decide whether to reshell them move them along to another home or wait until they bite the dust and then reshell them. i nearly traded them away a few days ago but the other party found another buyer before I could get a final answer to him about the trade.

 


Edited by DigitalFreak - 3/5/12 at 12:07am
post #6174 of 15304

Thanks for the great reviews as always joker. Been waiting a while for the XBA-4SL and that dampens my curiosity a little .

 

Though I'm a little surprised that the IMO overly close presentation of the X10 didn't prevent you from giving it a relatively high score. Keep up the good work.

post #6175 of 15304

thanks for your review of the xba-4, which was right on time.

 

I'm in the midst of looking for an iem which excels in the sub bass department in addition to my e-q5.

1. xba-4

2. westone 3

3. miles davis

4. atrios mg7

 

I was just about to go for the xba-4sl after all the hype about the quad driver but after reading your review, i might be better off with the miles davis after heavy discount : )

 

post #6176 of 15304
Quote:
Originally Posted by chidori View Post

thanks for your review of the xba-4, which was right on time.

 

I'm in the midst of looking for an iem which excels in the sub bass department in addition to my e-q5.

1. xba-4

2. westone 3

3. miles davis

4. atrios mg7

 

I was just about to go for the xba-4sl after all the hype about the quad driver but after reading your review, i might be better off with the miles davis after heavy discount : )

 

 

The best with sub bass would be the MG7s. If the offer on atrio.me still stands its an excellent deal.
 

 

post #6177 of 15304

Great reviews again for the X10 and XBA-4! My impressions were pretty similar to yours while trying out the Sonys.

post #6178 of 15304

AAAH does anyone have any suggestions on where i should get Audeo Phonak PFE 012? liike any other sites that have a price tag of less than $100?? liike the one on Amazon cuz the one on Amazon doesnt shiip to Australia T^T

post #6179 of 15304

Klipsch should really launch "V2" revisions of the X10 and Custom 3 with better cables, they would have sure winners on their hands. The Custom 3 was my first relatively high-end IEM and if not for the cable failure (the store did replace them with a brand new unit), I would never have sold them.

post #6180 of 15304
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azathoth View Post

Klipsch should really launch "V2" revisions of the X10 and Custom 3 with better cables, they would have sure winners on their hands. The Custom 3 was my first relatively high-end IEM and if not for the cable failure (the store did replace them with a brand new unit), I would never have sold them.


 

QFT. and I gotta say I'm surprised the X10 scored so high. My impression was that it had inferior detail in both mids & bass compared to the TF10 and the bass overwhelmed the rest of the sound spectrum .

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