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Multi-IEM Review - 352 IEMs compared (Pump Audio Earphones added 04/03/16 p. 1106) - Page 249

post #3721 of 16803
Thread Starter 


The CC51 is currently $39.99 at Sears and to be honest I'd rather have that despite all of its quirks and caveats. Still a very solid price on the A151, though. 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KainTFM View Post

I remember Joker mentioning that if the MEElectronics a151s ever came down to around $50, they'd be a 10/10 value since they have no real flaws, unlike the CC51s, who are "capped" at 9.0/10.  Well, for anyone interested...

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826735027

 

Stumbled upon this while researching other products.  MEElectronics a151s for $45 and free shipping (good till the 8/5).  I'm normally not one to "pimp" purchases, but I've been having such a love affair with the ones I bought a month or two ago I couldn't help but say something :)

 

Oh, and I paid $68 for mine :(

post #3722 of 16803
Thread Starter 

Added the Xears N3i and XE200PRO
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post

(3A58) Xears Nature N3i

 

Xears Nature N3i 400x300.jpg
Reviewed Aug 2011

Details: In-ear headset from Xears
Current Price: est $45 (30€) from xears.com with coupon code KLANGFUZZIS (MSRP: 89,90€)
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: N/A | Sens: N/A | Freq: 6-28k Hz | Cable: 4’ I-plug j-cord
Nozzle Size: 5mm | Preferred tips: generic single-flange; stock foam
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (3/5) –Single-flange (3 sizes), bi-flange, and tri-flange silicone tips, foamhybrid tips, and padded carrying pouch
Build Quality (3.5/5) – Like the other high-end Xears modes, the N3i uses painted wood and metal housings and metal nozzle filters. The sturdy nylon-sheathed cord does not kink the way some of the thinner ones do but can tangle a bit compared to the old Xears cables. Some driver flex is present
Isolation (3/5) – Moderate with silicone tips and a bit better with the foamies. The large housings prevent deep insertion
Microphonics (4/5) – Surprisingly low for a cloth cable and helped further by the j-cord configuration
Comfort (3/5) – The housings are lightweight but quite large in diameter and clearly designed for a shallow fit. Unfortunately, the combination of j-cord and inline mic integrated into the y-split makes the N3i impractical to wear over-the-ear and the stock silicone tips leave a bit to be desired

Sound (7.9/10) – The sound of the Xears Nature N3i bears a resemblance to that of Xears’ previous higher-end woody, the TD-III Blackwood, with the major differences being a slightly larger soundstage and less mid-forward balance. The bass of the N3i is the most powerful and prominent of Xears in-ears I’ve heard, narrowly beating out the PS120 and TD-III. The sub-bass is more powerful than with the XE200 and the entire low end is boomier and more full-bodied. Part of the reason is longer note sustainment – the N3i tends to have longer decay times than the other Xears in-ears. Impact is very sizeable and will probably be excessive for some but the N3i still manages to sound clean and resolving compared to the majority of bass-heavy mid-range earphones.

The mids are very smooth, as with the TD-III, but the N3i is slightly less forward in the midrange, which is partly responsible for the greater prominence of its bass. The midrange is by no means recessed but bass bleed is slightly more noticeable and the whole sound signature is richer, warmer, and thicker compared to the TD-III. Texture lags slightly behind the XE200PRO and is about on par with the TD-III, as are detail and clarity. For an earphone with a sound signature that places so much emphasis on the low end, the overall cleanliness of the N3i is enviable but unfortunately the clarity can be difficult to appreciate with all of that bass drawing attention to itself. In direct comparisons to other bass-heavy sets, however the clarity of the N3i shines and even the far more balanced Spider Realvoice could not beat the clarity or detail of the Xears on tracks where the bass did not overwhelm.

The treble of the N3i is low on sparkle but has good clarity and detail. It is not the sort of crisp, clinical treble found on some of my favourite analytical earphones but it works well to compliment the bass and midrange. It extends well enough upward and easily matches the other Xears models in overall proficiency. Presentation, on the other hand, is what most certainly sets the N3i apart from the already-spacious TD-III and lesser Xears models. The TD-III is already well above average in terms of the space it produces but the N3i sounds bigger still. The soundstage extends farther in all directions and whereas the TD-III leans very slightly towards intimacy, the N3i images more evenly across the sonic space. It can be fairly intimate when necessary but is also capable producing very good ambience. Instrumental separation is moderate, as with the TD-III, and airiness lags slightly behind the XE200 and XR120 models. On the whole it is a very solid presentation with a headphone-like feel and even well-tuned competitors like the Spider Realvoice sound a bit small next to the N3i.

Value (9/10) – The suggested retail price for the N3i is quite high but the current sale price drops it right in the midst of the overpopulated mid-range bracket. For that price the build quality of the N3i is quite good and the day-to-day usability passable for those who can live with the j-cord and gargantuan housings. Signature-wise, the N3i is the most impactful of the three high-end wooden Xears models but still retains impressive technical ability and a large, engrossing presentation. It gives a sense of limitless power and makes no compromises and no attempts at civility with its signature. Quite simply, if you really like bass and can live with the form factor, the current price makes the N3i one of the best deals in portable audio.

Pros: Great overall sound quality; low cable noise
Cons: Large housings; moderate driver flex; not giftable for lack of packaging; j-cord may be an issue for some; bass can be too prominent


(3A59) Xears XE200PRO

 

Xears XE200PRO 400x300.jpg

Reviewed Aug 2011

Details: Flagship in-ear from Germany-based Xears
Current Price: est $45 (30€) from xears.com with coupon code KLANGFUZZIS (MSRP: 89,90€)
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: N/A | Sens: N/A | Freq: 6-28k Hz | Cable: 4’ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: generic single-flange; stock foam
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (3/5) – Single-flange (3 sizes), bi-flange, and tri-flange silicone tips, foamhybrid tips, and padded carrying pouch
Build Quality (3.5/5) – Like the other high-end Xears modes, the XE200PRO uses painted wood and metal housings and metal nozzle filters. The sturdy nylon-sheathed cord does not kink the way some of the thinner ones do but can tangle a bit compared to the old Xears cords. The strain reliefs are ample and driver flex is low compared to the other Xears earphones
Isolation (3/5) – Moderate with silicone tips and a bit better with the foamies. The large housings prevent deep insertion
Microphonics (4/5) – Surprisingly low for a cloth cord and even better with over-the-ear wear
Comfort (3.5/5) – The housings are lightweight but quite large in diameter and clearly designed for a shallow fit. The stock silicone tips still leave a bit to be desired

Sound (7.9/10) – Whereas the similarly-priced N3i model pulls out all the stops in the pursuit of visceral bass and head-turning ambience, the XE200PRO is a slightly more level-headed take on the consumer-friendly sound common to the Xears earphones. Its bass is lower in impact and flatter than that of the N3i, with a punchier, crisper sound and slightly quicker note presentation. Sub-bass power and rumble are also reduced and the bass doesn’t bleed into the midrange as much as with the N3i or TD-III. In typical Xears fashion the low end is still anything but lacking but on tracks with plenty of bass the XE200PRO edges ahead of the N3i in resolution and clarity.

The midrange is smooth and detailed. It is similar in both emphasis and technical proficiency to the N3i model but there is not as much bass to get in the way with the XE200PRO. As a result, while the XE200 is not as warm and rich as the N3i, it textures notes slightly better and sounds more level overall. The overall clarity competes with the far more analytical XR120PRO and the timbre is quite good, as with the other higher-end Xears models.

The top end appears to be slightly more prominent than with the N3i and TD-III but still is not a focus of the sound signature. It sounds a tiny bit edgy next to the softer and slower N3i but doesn’t have any major adverse effects on the sound. Top-end extension is decent as with the other Xears models. Soundstage size is similar to the N3i but, while the N3i has the ambience of a large but enclosed space, the XE200PRO sounds a bit more open. It is not the most well-separated presentation but the layering is good and the positioning yields no surprises. It’s a well-rounded presentation to match a well-rounded sound signature.

Value (9/10) – Completing the triumvirate of higher-end Xears wooden IEMs, the XE200PRO provides a slightly more balanced alternative with all of the technical capability of the N3i. Above all else, the XE200PRO is a well-rounded, relaxing listen that sacrifices a bit less fidelity compared to the N3i and TD-III models. It is much the same story with usability – the fit is less fidgety than with the N3i and the driver flex is less noticeable. The housings are still very large at the front but for this level of performance at the current asking price, I’m willing to live with far greater discomfort than that.

Pros: Great sound quality with a consumer-friendly signature
Cons: Large housings; not giftable for lack of packaging



 

post #3723 of 16803

joker, i saved up my 100th post on Head Fi to thank you.

post #3724 of 16803

Why Sony EX600 IjokerI deleted?

post #3725 of 16803


Or, you know... their sound. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

 

Blown away by their price? or looks?



 

post #3726 of 16803

The N3i and the XE200PRO sonic flavor sound very interesting.

post #3727 of 16803

Good you and ClieOS are helping out all the Xears. They are hard to tell apart with different housings of different materials and they all say "High-end" and have the same specs but there are some differences in sound/performance.

post #3728 of 16803

Sound?

 

tongue_smile.gif?

 

Why did I have to start with the ck10? Listening to ER-4PT now and had higher expectations, the imaging is very basic =(.

 

They came with a signed unique FR graph of the IEM you receive though, with two serial codes on the paper which match serial codes printed on the L and R earpiece of the IEM itself.

 

I hope this inclusion takes off and more companies use it.

post #3729 of 16803
Quote:
Originally Posted by sulkoudai View Post

joker, i saved up my 100th post on Head Fi to thank you.



I think you can liken this to losing your virginity in head-fi terms : )

post #3730 of 16803
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sulkoudai View Post

joker, i saved up my 100th post on Head Fi to thank you.


Awesome, thank you! Speaking of which, this thread beat the IE8 appreciation thread as the second in the portable forum to hit 1/2 million views. Pretty cool.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by leylandi View Post

Why Sony EX600 IjokerI deleted?


?

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by jant71 View Post

Good you and ClieOS are helping out all the Xears. They are hard to tell apart with different housings of different materials and they all say "High-end" and have the same specs but there are some differences in sound/performance.


Yep, best to ignore the name and go by the sound. With all of them at the same price it's hard to look at any aside from the three wooden flagships (TD-III v2, N3i, XE200PRO) and the more analytical XR120. That narrows it down a little bit.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

Why did I have to start with the ck10? Listening to ER-4PT now and had higher expectations, the imaging is very basic =(.

 

They came with a signed unique FR graph of the IEM you receive though, with two serial codes on the paper which match serial codes printed on the L and R earpiece of the IEM itself.

 

I hope this inclusion takes off and more companies use it.



Welcome to the Ety presentation. You get the separation but no real sense of immersion. 

 

I don't think my ER4S came with an FR chart frown.gif.

post #3731 of 16803

ER4PT are the only ones that come with a signed graph as they are matched by hand. 

post #3732 of 16803

Thanks for the Xears reviews ljokerl.

 

Got a used XR120 based on your review, and aside from the driver crinkle and big housings, I'm really liking  the XR120-II sound, perfect for me on the go as it's not too analytical like the re0/zer0/xcapev1, better balanced than VB/Eterna, and a nice step above the M2.THe new models look even better, but too bad they haven't fixed the crinkling issue.

 

 

 

post #3733 of 16803
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

Sound?

 

tongue_smile.gif?

 

Why did I have to start with the ck10? Listening to ER-4PT now and had higher expectations, the imaging is very basic =(.

 

They came with a signed unique FR graph of the IEM you receive though, with two serial codes on the paper which match serial codes printed on the L and R earpiece of the IEM itself.

 

I hope this inclusion takes off and more companies use it.

Ditto, that certainly would be a welcome inclusion to a standard retail package. Although, i wonder just how much stock we can put in it.
 

Oh and I love my ck10s. They are my go to pair for classical and soundtracks. Never heard the Etys tho so must say I am suprised you feel they dont match up. Perhaps if it was the ER-4s you impression would be different?


Edited by Heret1c - 8/2/11 at 9:49pm
post #3734 of 16803
Quote:
Originally Posted by LegendaryLvl1 View Post





I think you can liken this to losing your virginity in head-fi terms : )

Well if so, I can hardly think of a better person to lose it to. LOL
 

 

post #3735 of 16803
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by glac1er View Post

Thanks for the Xears reviews ljokerl.

Got a used XR120 based on your review, and aside from the driver crinkle and big housings, I'm really liking the XR120-II sound, perfect for me on the go as it's not too analytical like the re0/zer0/xcapev1, better balanced than VB/Eterna, and a nice step above the M2.THe new models look even better, but too bad they haven't fixed the crinkling issue.



To be fair the XE200PRO does have less flex than the older Xears models I've tried but yes, the little usability quirks are the price you pay for getting this level of sound quality at the asking price.

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