or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Multi-IEM Review - 352 IEMs compared (Pump Audio Earphones added 04/03/16 p. 1106)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Multi-IEM Review - 352 IEMs compared (Pump Audio Earphones added 04/03/16 p. 1106) - Page 108

post #1606 of 16802

The only way I can think of about the drastic changes in how you listen to your 530s are fit issues, just like you said. But surely, an experienced listener like you would have chosen the best tips that consistently stay put in your ears? It only takes 5 seconds to realize that the tips you've been trying are not for you.

post #1607 of 16802
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

Its like having sex w/ a mannequin.  Not that I would know.  Kunlun told me.

Excuse you, they are called Real Dolls.
Don't be a hater, bro. 

 

You just jealous, I got mine from Japan with real human skin.

post #1608 of 16802

No guys, I don't think it's that simple. I think that with this IEM design even the differences of 1/10 of a mm or less can have an audible effect on the sound. Just think about it - the nozzle is tiny and all that sound from three drivers must come out of that tiny nozzle then combine properly in your ear canal before it hits your eardrum. Our ear canals are like the extension of the IEM - the sound is not ready when it leaves then IEM nozzle, but has to pass through our canals which act as acoustic chambers which further shape the sound.

post #1609 of 16802

I agree that the SM3 requires a very good fit in order to achieve its signature sound. Many times (especially when I first received the SM3), I tried different tips and even cut out some foam (from ear plugs) and tried those tips as well. Sometimes I would hear a gorgeous sound from the entire dynamic range, and other times one thing or the other would be missing (missing deep bass impact, highs and treble dissipating artificially, midrange sounding very awkwardly "heavy" and thick). 

 

However, after BennyBoy71's suggestion of the double-flanged tips from Sensorcom, I decided to order them. I must also add that I de-cored an old Shure yellow foam tip to only retain its plastic core, and put that over the nozzle of the SM3. Then I took the double-flanged tip and slowly pushed it over the nozzle which was already covered with the yellow foam core.

 

Now, even after doing all that and having a good open sound nozzle from the tips, it is crucial to get a proper insertion. Here is where the "ultimate SM3 fit" comes in: I don't know if everyone knows the whole "put your opposite hand behind your head, pull the top of your ear up while saying "ahhh", and then twist the IEM into place counterclockwise" --> but I think this is one of the most crucial points of getting a proper fit. Then comes lubrication of the tips, which I also think is very important for the double-flange tips. Additionally, some people like using saliva to lubricate their tips, I find this kind of weird so I just use a TINY amount (literally 1/3 the size of a pea for both tips) of any facial/body lotion, and then first dab, and then rub it on both tips so they are lubricated (you should not see any of the lotion on the tips, since you are using such a small amount--just enough to get them lubricated). By then your fingers will be slightly lubricated too, and you can just your fingers to rub the entrance of the ear canal, lubricating them too.

 

Once again, I am using the double-flange tips from Sensorcom placed on top of a de-cored Shure yellow foam tip, which is snug on the nozzle of the SM3. This may not be the best combination for everyone but it is well worth a few dollars to try out, since it worked for many SM3 users to achieve a perfect fit.

 

After allll this (I'm used to the process by now--it's not that cumbersome), I did the method above (the hand over head method I'd like to call it), SLOWLY inserting the SM3 counterclockwise in each ear canal. I was surprised by HOW MUCH isolation increased! Compared to any other tip or method I've used, this had the most SUPERB isolation.

 

And finally, the music. It was after this that I discovered how gorgeous the SM3 can sound. For the entire dynamic range, the SM3 is very cohesive. Its analytical/slightly forgiving/warm/creamy/liquid signature really makes music sound the way it should for me (and for many others who have achieved this "holy grail" of fits with the SM3). I must say, when I had written my SM3 review, I had not achieved this sound all the time--only randomly--by chance, and I knew that this was the sound signature of the SM3, the sound that I based my review off of.

 

I just had to get this same sound with the SM3 every time. With the above method, I do get this same sound signature every time--which is why I am still with the SM3 (being one of the very first to buy it when average_joe made his thread--before any review except his own) even after many have either sold, changed, or moved up to a custom this past year.

 

So my point is--try to get this "ultimate" fit with the SM3. Yes, it detracts from the IEM because it is hard to achieve a 100% proper fit; but even if you think you have this "ultimate" fit, you may not. Keep trying even if it sounds great already--which is what I did, and I was rewarded with a gorgeous sound. I think |joker| achieved this sound as well as many other SM3 owners. But the fit is crucial to the sound.

 

The rating that |joker| gave for the SM3 may be annoying for some members here who did not enjoy the SM3, but we must understand that nearly everything at head-fi is opinion based off of our own experiences. Not everyone will agree with a rating and I do not think |joker| was expecting everyone to come into this thread and agree with him either. As we all know though, he has contributed tremendously to this forum and his review of the SM3 does not seem biased at all.

 

Finally, I do not in any way think the SM3 is the "one and only BEST universal IEM". It lacks in its build, which is boxy and can sometimes be uncomfortable, its hard to find "perfect" fit, as well as the fact that it is hard to get your hands on considering it is made in France. However, with all this being said, the sound that the SM3 produces simply outweighs all of those detriments for me. I think it is an excellent IEM, and quite humbly, one of (not THE) the best universal IEMs on the market today.


Edited by SolidVictory - 12/22/10 at 1:47pm
post #1610 of 16802

Ok, lets simplify this discussion.  For those of you that have this ideal perfect fit and signature.  Once achieved, do the highs match the timbre of the DBA-02 w/ respect to cymbals and crashes?  Does the bass reach the lowest lows and offer the decay and reverb of my Monster MDs?  My experience is no.  It seems to me this discussion is a simple matter of those that don't prefer the SM3 don't prefer the signature and those SM3 proponents that prefer its signature think those that don't haven't actually heard it.  You seem to think the SM3 is so perfect that everyone must like its signature?  IMO the SM3 is a sidegrade among the top tier, not a game changer.


Edited by Anaxilus - 12/22/10 at 1:36pm
post #1611 of 16802

What many of us experienced with the sound of the SM3 was not due to fit, seal or insertion. It was not. We are not noobs (no disrespect... we all were/are at one point). But we know fit, seal and insertion... and know our own ears. Please give us a little more credit for being somewhat IEM savvy.

 

And besides... if it is really that hard to fit these; if one really has to go through all the extreme tip mods performed by SolidVictory (no disrespect, more power to you), why on earth would anyone even consider these worth $400? Just for that alone they should be dismissed. But that's another thread.

 

It's really very simple. With well-fit eartips, we did not find the sound of the SM3 to be worthy of a 10/10 rating. We expressed that opinion and stated why. It's not solely a matter of taste, though taste and preference is, of course, involved. It was for me, all that these IEM's don't reproduce. They suppress essential sonic characteristics. And if requiring them is what people call 'preference', then I'm guilty of insisting on hearing what has actually been recorded. All of it.


Edited by shane55 - 12/22/10 at 1:51pm
post #1612 of 16802

Thanks SolidVictory for possible fixes.  I don't have those fit issues with the SM3, as it sounds great to me with numerous tips and doesn't change much regardless of the insertion method, as long as the tips are not bent and in the same spot.  Back when I originally posted about the SM3, I stated that technically it was the best I had heard, which included the IE8, W3, UM3X, FX700, e-Q7, etc.  My term technically meant that it combined realism, proper soundstage size while being very large in comparison to the competition, and high resolution allowing me to make out things in the music I had previously heard, but didn't sound like the real thing.  This was taken out of context as people (or a person) stated I claimed it was the best, period.  I did ask the question about how people would react if I put the SM3 above all others in my top-tier chart and wow, what a response!

 

Anyways, my point is that there are those that love the SM3 and hear it's technical merit, while others, for whatever reason don't hear it.  The SM3 seems to be as polarizing as religion or politics and has resulted in 2 SM3 threads being locked.  I am glad people seem to be civil in this thread.  Take any headphone and you will have supporters and detractors, for example the LDC-2, which is beloved by many, but not all.  If there was one correct, preferred sound signature, the all companies products would try to have their products sound that way, but they don't.  I am in the SM3 camp and it is still my favorite universal, although I don't listen to it much due to my other equipment.

 

If the SM3 can produce a level of sound that is [slightly] technically superior to the competition, shouldn't it get a 10/10, even if it isn't heard that way by everyone?  Are things to be judged by the worst they can sound, or the best?  And hasn't |joker| earned the right to rate things how he hears them, with his vast experience?  Now, if |joker| used his sound signature preferences in the ratings, that would not be a good thing, but he does not and provides excellent write-ups to help us understand something we have not heard.

post #1613 of 16802
Quote:
Originally Posted by shane55 View Post

What many of us experienced with the sound of the SM3 was not due to fit, seal or insertion. It was not. We are not noobs (no disrespect... we all were/are at one point). But we know fit, seal and insertion... and know our own ears. Please give us a little more credit for being somewhat IEM savvy.

 

And besides... if it is really that hard to fit these; if one really has to go through all the extreme tip mods performed by SolidVictory (no disrespect, more power to you), why on earth would anyone even consider these worth $400? Just for that alone they should be dismissed. But that's another thread.

 

It's really very simple. With well-fit eartips, we did not find the sound of the SM3 to be worthy of a 10/10 rating. We expressed that opinion and stated why. It's not solely a matter of taste, though taste and preference is, of course, involved. It was for me, all that these IEM's don't reproduce. They suppress essential sonic characteristics. And if requiring them is what people call 'preference', then I'm guilty of insisting on hearing what has actually been recorded. All of it.


I agree that not everyone had fit issues, and many still did not like the SM3 after achieving a perfect fit. I am not in any way saying that everyone who did not like the SM3 had fit issues. I'm just putting it out there for people who did not like it and have not tried to get an ideal fit yet.

 

I just don't hear any suppression if essential sonic characteristics. Maybe some do hear an actual technical flaw, but I do not, so I am very satisfied with my SM3's; of course not everyone will be, and I understand that.

post #1614 of 16802

wow what a fight the sm3 has caused.

post #1615 of 16802
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnoiserdc View Post

wow what a fight the sm3 has caused.



Indeed. Going to try to wade through it all now that I'm home but damn... now I see why the SM3 appreciation thread died a painful death. To everyone's credit this is very civil and I appreciate that.

post #1616 of 16802

Let me sway the topic a bit. I really like the review of the Custom 3 that you gave, but durability issue you faced(also read about it in another thread) makes me worried. So, is there anything else you may recommend for about 100 or less I should look at? Or was it just a fluke with the cable? Thought about the RE-0 and Zero but something about the comfort I didn't like. Thanks.  

post #1617 of 16802
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnoiserdc View Post

wow what a fight the sm3 has caused.


Not at all.

 

While I have had a hand in somewhat hijacking the thread (deepest apologies to |Joker| ), this has been relatively civil. And there were at least 2 threads that were closed over SM3 'disagreements'. You should have seen much of went on there and the posts that were deleted. THAT was fighting. People were banned. This is a discussion with clearly opposing viewpoints. No big deal.

 

What is it about these IEM's ?  rolleyes.gif  wink_face.gif

 

Cheers and Happy Holidays to all.

 

shane
 

post #1618 of 16802

I finally sold my SM3's. I did like them but they really didn't grab my attention like other iems and didn't produce a WOW factor. Fit wasn't an issue for me either. I used custom UM56 tips and sensorcom double flange tips. They always gave me a perfect fit. For me, they were very bassy iems which surprised me being that they have BA drivers. It sounded similar to bassy dynamic drivers. The other BA iem that surprised me with bass is the Klipsh image x10. The large oval tips gave me the best seal and I am taken aback by how low and deep the bass goes. It only has one micro BA driver! I also have the UM3X and when I read other people's descriptions of how the bass of the SM3 and UM3X are similar, I though they must be out of their minds. I compared them again and I still could hear a significant amount of more bass quantity from the SM3. The UM3X didn't have the quantity but has a more noticeable visceral slam which I also never heard from a BA iem. When some people stated in the locked threads that the SM3's midrange was much better than the SE530 it put me in a quandary. I really couldn't believe that the SM3's midrange can be better than the legendary se530 midrange. I was then determined to buy them and hear them for myself. The midrange was good, but not as good as the SE535 which I also currently own. I didn't try the filter mod because of all the reports of how easy parts break off with just regular use. It could have changed my perception but I didn't want to risk breaking them. This what I have experienced and I fully understand that we can hear things differently. From my perspective, I would give them a 8.5/10.

post #1619 of 16802
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by james444 View Post

 

The SM3 annoys with its enveloping soundstage and thick, creamy midrange.

 

Ha, I expected as much. 

 

I think it needs stating that the difference between 9.75 and 10.0 is very small. Everyone referring to the SM3 as the new 'bar' is missing a crucial chunk of the view - I think I've stated before that personal preferences can easily negate +/- 1pt of difference on the scale so calling the SM3 the 'bar' for high-end earphones would be the same as calling the Meelec M9 the 'bar' for sets <$20. Yes the M9 is very good for a budget set from a technical standpoint but they are also harsh and boomy and have recessed mids. Some people will hate them. Some may prefer the CX300 or PL30 to the M9, yet noone is complaining that the M9 is scored too high because by its nature a score of 5/10 doesn't carry the same connotations as 10/10.

 

Anyway, I think that needed saying.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

 

If the SM3 can produce a level of sound that is [slightly] technically superior to the competition, shouldn't it get a 10/10, even if it isn't heard that way by everyone?  Are things to be judged by the worst they can sound, or the best?  And hasn't |joker| earned the right to rate things how he hears them, with his vast experience?  Now, if |joker| used his sound signature preferences in the ratings, that would not be a good thing, but he does not and provides excellent write-ups to help us understand something we have not heard.


Thanks, we really seem to think alike, you and me beerchug.gif. I definitely chalk up my preferring the CK10 and DBA-02 to the SM3 to signature preferences but I don't think I'm overcompensating by rating the SM3 higher ph34r.gif .

 


Quote:

Originally Posted by battleaxe View Post

Let me sway the topic a bit. I really like the review of the Custom 3 that you gave, but durability issue you faced(also read about it in another thread) makes me worried. So, is there anything else you may recommend for about 100 or less I should look at? Or was it just a fluke with the cable? Thought about the RE-0 and Zero but something about the comfort I didn't like. Thanks.  


I don't think anything can beat the Custom3 from a technical standpoint for $100... RE-ZERO/Xcape would probably be closest. I really like the fit of the Xcape-  can't imagine anyone having issues with it. Anyway, the cable on the KC3 really isn't bad from a durability standpoint as long as you are careful with it. I just didn't like how it kinks and conducts noise... 


Edited by ljokerl - 12/22/10 at 3:59pm
post #1620 of 16802

No fight whatsoever , i think this may be one of the very,very few times that people here have a different opinion form joker's excellent reviews and since this is xmas , is a good time to 'fight' it out in a good,positive way

 

It's like these talks buddies do , when they make well-meant fun of each other's girlfriend

 

well joker loves sm3 and we are simply trying to pull his leg and tell him ' you know what man , actually your gf etc etc'

 

no biggie.

 

Besides , i don't think there is one member here who does not respect/dig joker for this thread he has built - it's just our way to tell him ' we love you even more now cause you're human and you ain't the IEM god ' wink_face.gif

 

It would seem very peculiar to me seeing people here diss joker in a non-friendly , humorous way....

 

 

So where were we with this whole sm3 thing ? jecklinsmile.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnoiserdc View Post

wow what a fight the sm3 has caused.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Multi-IEM Review - 352 IEMs compared (Pump Audio Earphones added 04/03/16 p. 1106)