Comparison Notes - the meat of the reviewThis post contains my comparison notes.
Each comparison song (and one album) pits the Copper against the challengers, determines a winner, and then scores the overall tally.
Song: Radiohead – House of Cards
IE8: IE8 space was a little wider, bass hit a little harder, but the mids weren’t as clear. The more laid back vocals sounded slightly smeared compared to the Copper. A little darker sounding and the treble of the Copper was a little smoother. However, at lower volumes the IE8 retains it’s sound signature and dynamics whereas the Copper does not. Winner: Copper due to the more accurate sounding vocals.
RE252: The Copper has more bass weight and sounds warmer and thicker. The RE252 has a little more micro-detail while the Copper is smoother. The RE252 images better, creating a more 3D space. The mids of the RE252 are more up front. The emphasis of these two are different, with the RE252 having a upper mid emphasis while the Copper having a flatter presentation with a little bass boost. [b]Winner: Copper[b] (but close) as the overall presentation of this song is more suited to the Copper and the bass weight.
CK10: The CK10 has better imaging than the Copper, but the soundstage is not as wide with a more in my head presentation for this song. Oodles of detail from the CK10 with a treble oriented presentation vs. the Copper’s much warmer presentation. I don’t think this song sounds all that good with the presentation of the CK10. Winner: Copper due to the better space and bass
CK90Pro: The clarity, detail, and 3D space of the CK90Pro is superior to the Copper. The Copper has more reverberant bass, but the CK90 bass hits harder. The treble of the Copper is smoother, but the detail and clarity trump the Copper. The space of the Copper is wider, but the CK90 is more 3D. Winner: CK90Pro (foam removed) as the added detail trumps the other areas where the Copper is a little better
TF10: TF10 treble has more quantity and borders on sibilant (sharp “s”es), whereas the Copper is much smoother. Bass impact and space are similar. While the TF10 does have more detail, it just sounds off compared to the Copper due to the recessed mids, which smear the overall presentation, losing coherency from bass through treble. Winner: Copper as the TF10 didn’t sound as natural as the Copper
FX500: FX500 has a little wider space, is more laid back, and has a little more treble detail. The treble of the Copper is smoother and more in balance with the rest of the spectrum, but the bass of the FX500 has better texture but with less impact. The mids of the FX500 do sound recessed in comparison, but both are enjoyable yet different. Winner: Tie as they both present this song quite well, but different.
WM2 silver: WM2 has more bass impact and treble energy than the Copper, but isn’t as spacious and the treble isn’t as smooth. The Copper has a little more laid back presentation. Detail is about the same. Winner: Copper due to the slightly wider space and smoother treble
PR1 Pro: Very natural presentation from the PR1, but the treble is closer to being sibilant than the TF10. Space of the Copper is better. The vocals of the PR1 is much sharper and sounds peaky. Details that are present with the Copper are smoothed out in the PR1. The Copper is warmer with more bass weight. Winner: Copper by a landslide as the treble doesn’t compare, smoothed out details of the PR1, and the better space of the Copper.
Overall Score: 5-1-1
Source: USB-DAC-Cable -> AMP3 -> Arrow 12HE
Song: Epica – Indigo (I use this song because there is subtle ticking at the beginning of the song that is not audible with all IEMs and the end can of the song can get harsh)
IE8: No ticking with the IE8, but it is audible with the Copper. The mids of the IE8 sound recessed and the presentation is more laid back. Deep bass sounds cleaner and more impactful with the Copper. The IE8 sounds veiled in comparison with the Copper as the details in the song are more apparent with the Copper. The cymbal crash sounds about the same. Winner: Copper
CK10: Listening hard for the ticking I know is there with the CK10 was futile at the volume I am listening at. Of course the Copper has more bass rumble than the CK10. Cymbal crash sounds good on both, but a smoother on the Copper. Vocal performance is fairly similar. Winner: Copper by a tick.
CK90Pro: Ticking is much easier to hear with the CK90Pro, but the bass, while there, isn’t on the same as the Copper due to the shorter duration reverb. The cymbal crash of the Copper is much more natural, but the vocals sound more defined with the CK90Pro. The end part of the song is not as enjoyable with the CK90Pro as it gets too harsh. Winner: Copper due to the smoothness to pull the whole song off, yet great detail for a dynamic.
TF10: I figured the TF10 would allow me to hear the ticking, but no. The presentation lacks the clarity of the Copper and sounds much thicker and congested. The cymbal crashes do sound about the same, so no complaints there. The vocals don’t sound as smooth on the TF10. Winner: Copper is the clear winner!
RE252: The RE252 ticks, and ticks a little more than the Copper (slightly less than the CK90Pro), but the bass at the beginning of the song doesn’t have the power of the Copper. You can hear a space in the presentation of the RE252 not there with the Copper, but the Copper sounds more natural overall (and listening to the same song with many different IEMs, the Copper and CK’s seem to have the best timbre with this song. They cymbal crashes seem a little off with the RE252 and the end of the song gets a little congested and harsh while the Copper pulls it off. Winner: Copper
WM2 silver: Slightly more deep bass than the Copper and the ticking is more in the forefront, although a little less textured. The cymbals don’t seem quite as natural and detailed, but close. The singing blends in with the music more with the WM2 than with the Copper. Winner: Copper
FX500: The ticking is about on par with the Copper, but the bass impact is less. These are the closest to the Copper, with the differences being the Copper has more deep bass impact, fuller mids, and is smoother and more pleasant sounding with the singing. Winner: Copper
PR1 Pro: I can hear the ticking, but it is not as audible as the Copper. The deep bass at the beginning is not really there (worst of the group) and the detail level is lower than the Copper. It tries, but the texturing/micro-detail level is noticeably less. The singing sounds a little congested compared to the Copper. Overall not a bad presentation for the price point. Winner: Copper
Overall Score: 7-0
Source: USB-DAC-Cable -> AMP3 -> Shadow
Song: Delain – On the Other Side
IE8: The IE8 sounds like the frequency spectrum is shifted compared to the Copper and the presentation isn’t as cohesive as the Copper. While the IE8 sounds wider, it is a little boomy and just not as clear. Winner: Copper
CK10: Crisp and clean, the vocals with the CK10 sound fantastic in the beginning, but as the song goes on, the treble seems a little exaggerated and not as much bass impact as the Copper. Certain parts of this song are very well done with the CK10 (such as the intricate details), but others are a little too much. Winner: Copper as it doesn’t do anything wrong and does so much right.
CK90Pro: Vocals with the CK90Pro are a little on the sharp side with this song. While the presentation of the CK90Pro is nice and warm, a little more enveloping and detailed compared with the Copper, the vocals, which are the focus of the song, are smoother and better with the Copper. Winner: Copper
TF10: OK, here is the one and only source where I really like the TF10. First, the vocals are a little to ssss’y, and the Copper is smooth in comparison. The mids of the TF10 actually sound better, and there is more detail in the treble, but back to the vocals. And the Copper has more substantial bass that also seems clearer and cleaner. Winner: Copper
RE252: The vocals of this song bring the upper mids/treble boost to the forefront of the RE252, which doesn’t sound a s natural as the Copper. As far as the rest of the presentation, they are both equally good, with the Copper offering more bass authority, but the RE252 having a little more micro-detail. The Copper has a wider stage. Winner: Copper
WM2 silver: Wow, this one is close. I actually think the vocals are slightly nicer and the treble of the WM2 is a little smoother with this one, but the detail level is better with the Copper. The differences are more subtle, but are there as the Copper does have a more transparent and cohesive presentation, but I slightly prefer the vocals with the WM2. Winner: Copper as the slightly better vocals don’t overcome the transparency and cohesiveness of the Copper
FX500: The FX500 presents the vocals with a sharpness that the Copper doesn’t have. The rest of the presentation of the FX is nice with good detail, but does sound mid recessed in comparison with the Copper, which leads to a much less involving experience from the FX500. Winner: Copper
Overall Score: 7-0 with one close call
Source: Prodigy Hi-Fi 7.1 Line Out -> AMP3 -> Arrow 12HE
Song: NIN – The Four of Us are Dying (24-96) – this song to me is about the space created, which is amazing IMO (the whole album actually).
IE8: This is one of the songs that simply amazed me with the IE8 due to the sheer space of the presentation, and the IE8 did not disappoint there. Sure, the actual notes were clearer with the Copper, but the Copper seems closed in comparatively. Winner: IE8 due to sheer space of the presentation.
CK10: This song to is mostly about the space conveyed, and the CK10 does a fantastic job of creating a wide and 3D space that makes the Copper sound a little flat. With is close, but the Copper edges out the CK10, however the 3D space is better with the CK10. The bass isn’t as hard hitting with the CK10, and the treble is a little too much at anything louder than a low to moderate level with the CK10. This one is a tough one, as at louder volumes the Copper picks it up and has near the imaging of the CK10, but the CK10 treble is too much for my ears. At lower volumes, the CK10’s imaging is a good amount better and the precision is very nice. Winner: tie as there is dependence on volume level, and the CK10 isn’t listenable at louder volumes with this song for me.
CK90Pro: The CK90Pro adds clarity to the presentation, but the width of the Copper is a plus as the CK90Pro seems not to extend as far out and the 3D space is about on par with the Copper. Winner: Copper as the added clarity of the CK90Pro isn’t enough to overcome the bigger space of the Copper
TF10: The space of the Copper is wider than that of the TF10, but the front-to-back and top-to-bottom is about the same. The TF10 sounds a little hollow in comparison due to the presentation of the mids, and the Copper seems clearer. Winner: Copper
RE252: The RE252 has a beautiful presentation of the space, wide and very 3D with nice detail. The only place I am left wanting something different is the bass, which the Copper has. And the Copper isn’t all that far off in the rest of the presentation, although it is behind in detail and 3D space. The Copper does win in the width category. Winner: tie as this is another close one with both rendering the song in an enjoyable yet slightly different way
WM2 silver: The bass impact of the WM2 is superb with this song, and while the Copper is superb also, I do prefer the deep bass impact of the WM2. The space is a little wider with the Copper, but nearly the same in 3D presentation. The Copper is a little smoother and seems to have a better balance across the spectrum. Winner: Copper, but the WM2 was encroaching
FX500: The FX500 does a nice job with the beginning of this song and handling the space. There is plenty of bass detail, but the treble seems a little sharp compared to the smooth Copper treble. Also, the mids don’t seem in line with the rest of the spectrum like the Copper. While the width of the FX500 is very nice and about on par with the Copper, the 3D space of the Copper is better as is the transparency. Winner: Copper
Overall Score: 4-1-2
Source: uDAC -> Arrow
Song: 50 Cent – In Da Club
IE8: The IE8 has more bass impact than the Copper, but the Copper bass is cleaner with less mid-bass. The treble is about the same, but the mids are more pleasant with the Copper as the IE8 just sounds a little off. Winner: Copper
CK10: More up close and personal presentation than the Copper. All the details are very apparent with the CK10 which offers a much better window into the details of the music than the Copper. Bass impact of the CK10 is close to the Copper, but not quite as reverberant. Copper is more laid back, but the vocals sound Winner: Tie as this they both do a very good, but different job IMO.
CK90Pro: Bass was more impactful and sounded much more natural than the CK90Pro, which seemed to be lacking in this song. The Copper had good detail and clarity, but the CK90Pro brought all the details out and separated them, which just didn’t sound right with this song. Winner: Copper
TF10: Nice bass impact from the TF10, actually more impact than the Copper, but the Copper seems to have slightly better bass reverb. The rest of the spectrum sound much smoother with the Copper and seems to have a better balance. Winner: Copper
RE252: The 252 seems a little lean compared to the Copper in this song. There is bass with the RE252, and it sounds like it should, it just sounds like the volume was turned down a little too low. The Copper also seems more balanced across the mids and treble, making for a more enjoyable presentation. Winner: Copper
WM2 silver: The WM2 has more bass reverb and impact than the Copper. The Copper sounds more laid back and balanced with smoother treble. The WM2 isn’t bad, but the overall presentation doesn’t have the finesse of the Copper. Winner: Copper
FX500: The FX500 has good bass impact and reverb, but sounds a little sloppy compared to the Copper. The treble of the Copper is silky smooth compared to the near sibilant treble of the FX500. Definitely a V shaped frequency response for the FX500, whereas the Copper again seems balanced. Winner: Copper
Overall Score: 6-0-1
Source: uDAC -> Arrow
Song: Eminem – When the Music Stops
IE8: The IE8 has more bass impact, but much of it is mid-bass. The rest of the presentation is just done differently with the Copper having a little more clarity. The IE8 treble seems more laid back. The presentation of the mids and treble, which having a different frequency response, are very similar. Winner: Copper, although if you prefer more bass, the IE8 would be your winner.
CK10: The CK10 has superior clarity, but Copper sounds more natural, as the bass is more reverberant and the treble of the CK10 seems a little aggressive. Winner: Copper
CK90Pro: Another rap song were the bass on the CK90Pro just doesn’t compare with the Copper. Everything else is OK, but different. Great clarity from the CK90Pro, but the upper mid peak seems to artificially accentuate some of the notes in the entire song. Winner: Copper
TF10: The TF10 bass is a little more impactful, but doesn’t have the same reverb of the Copper. The vocals aren’t as clear on the TF10 compared with the Copper. Winner: Copper
RE252: The presentation is very similar, but the Copper has more bass impact with the RE252 seeming like the bass power and reverb is missing. Both share clarity and a smooth yet detailed presentation Winner: Copper, although it would be a tie if you don’t mind the lower levels of bass.
WM2 silver: The WM2 has very powerful deep bass impact with great reverb. But the vocals aren’t as clear and concise as the Copper. The WM2 mids sound a little recessed in this song. In contrast, the Copper does so much more right. Winner: Copper
FX500: The FX500 makes the rappers sound like they have slight lisps. The bass is nice and powerful, but the mids do seem recessed in comparison. Detail levels are similar. Winner: Copper
Overall Score: 7-0 with 2 close calls.
Source: USB-DAC-Cable -> Arrow
Song: Grieg - Lyric Suite, Op 54 March of the Dwarfs
IE8: The IE8 has a little better sense of overall space than the Copper, but the Copper’s details come out more and it sounds clearer. Presentation is similar between the two. Winner: Copper as the detail and clarity of the Copper edge out the IE8’s slightly better space.
CK10: Both have about the same soundstage width, the CK10 has more instrument detail, clarity, instrument separation, and a more airy presentation. The Copper is a little more laid back and has a less bright sound. Winner: CK10 due to clarity, details in the presentation.
CK90Pro*: Amazing detail with the CK90Pro, and more of an up close and personal presentation. And while the Copper does have nice detail, it sounds a little veiled in comparison. The presentation of the Copper is more laid back, kinda like you are in the cheap seats. Some may like the presentation of the Copper better, but I prefer the clarity of the CK90Pro. Winner: CK90Pro
TF10*: The TF10 is more forward and sounds very detailed with a great sense of space for some of the song, but during the complex parts of the song, the TF10 seems to be a little overwhelmed. And at other times the mids sound recessed in comparison. The Copper is slightly less detailed, but more consistent. Winner: Copper
RE252: RE252 has better treble clarity, but the Copper wins in soundstage width by a bit. They seem about the same in detail and instrument separation. The Copper has a warmer presentation to the RE252’s colder, more analytical presentation. Biggest negative of the RE252 was that I could not hear some bass drums at the end of the song audible with all other IEMs tested. Winner: Copper only because I could not hear the bass notes at the end of the song with the RE252
WM2 silver: The WM2 is missing the fine detail that is present with the others in this category. The bass can sometimes be a little much with the WM2, but the clarity is there. At times, the WM2 can be a little harsh in the treble, but other than that it is pretty close to the Copper in space and tone. Winner: Copper
FX500: This is a tough one, they are very similar, but the FX500 has better treble clarity, but there are points in the song where the treble seems a little much. Both present this beautifully, but in slightly different ways. The space is close for both. Winner: Tie
e-Q7: The Copper has the more laid back and wider presentation.
Overall Score: 4-2-1
Source: iPhone 3G Headphone Out
Song: Eagles - Hotel California (from Hell Freezes Over)
IE8: The guitar strings on the IE8 have more pronounced details and the drums have more of a kick, but do sound less controlled. The crowd seems livelier with the IE8, and while the Copper does have a better balance, the IE8 presents the song with a more concert like presentation. The Copper is clearer, especially in the vocals. Winner: Tie only since the Copper vocals made up for the better “live” presentation of the IE8.
CK10: If you want to analyze the details in the song, the CK10 will help you do that like few others. If you want a more laid back concert experience, the Copper is for you. Technically, the CK10 is superior with the way it presents the details and images the performance, but the Copper seems more like the way this song should be heard. Winner: Copper as I don’t think many (at least I don’t) want to over analyze Hotel California
CK90Pro*: The CK90Pro throws a better image with more instrument micro-detail, but the bass reverberation time of the drums seems too short and not as natural sounding as the Copper. The rest of the presentation also sounds more natural with the Copper. The Copper has a more laid back presentation. Winner: Copper
TF10*: Excellent guitar string detail from the TF10 and a nice presentation with ample detail. The bass of the Copper is a little more weighty, but still under perfect control. Both have an equally nice “live” presentation of this song, but the Copper is a little airier. The TF10 really doesn’t sound mid-recessed with this song, but that could very well be the source as I do think the iPhone is a good match with the TF10. Winner: Tie
RE252: Both have nice space, but the Copper portrays a more realistic experience due to the weight of the drums, more natural sounding guitar, and smoother vocals. Winner: Copper
WM2 silver: The WM2 has a more up-front presentation that accentuates the instruments, but doesn’t have the details present in the Copper. And while most of the instruments sound accurate and on par with the Copper, but the kick drum sounds sloppy. The WM2’s lack of micro-detail, slightly less 3D soundstage, and closer presentation just don’t bring the song to life like the Copper. Winner: Copper
FX500: FX500 bass hits harder and is more reverberant, but sounds less controlled. The FX500 sounds flat front to back compared to the Copper, which makes the song come to life and has more transparency. Winner: Copper
e-Q7: Very similar in instrument presentation to the Copper, however, the listening location is close to the front. The e-Q7 transparency is easy to hear with the audience, although the Copper isn’t all that far behind. Bass weight, while OK with the e-Q7 isn’t on par with the Copper. Vocals with the e-Q7 are more upfront, and the details are much easier to discern and enjoy. The presentation is very different, but the e-Q7 sounds much better technically than the Copper. Winner: e-Q7 even though I don’t particularly prefer the presentation of the e-Q7, it does it so well, it still draws me in.
Overall Score: 5-1-2 The newcomer e-Q7 pulls out the only victory over the Copper.
Source: DIY modded iPod 5.5g -> Arrow
Album: Armin van Buuren – Imagine (great excuse to listen to the album repeatedly)
IE8: The IE8 doesn’t do this album poorly, doesn’t seem slow, but just doesn’t have the clarity and seems, well, to have too much mid-bass. I do think the IE8 sounds a little faster. The stage is great, and more expansive than the Copper, but with this album, the space really isn’t much different. The IE8 does have a more airy sound, but it is very close. Winner: Tie I can’t decide between the better IE8 speed or the better Copper clarity.
CK10: Clarity and detail are readily apparent with the CK10, making the Copper sound a little smoothed over. Bass weight is not bad with the CK10, but nowhere near on par with the Copper. This album is about detail, speed, and bass is secondary in my opinion. Stage isn’t much all that much different in width, although the presentations are different with the CK10 bringing the mids and details to the forefront. Winner: CK10
CK90Pro: The CK90Pro is definitely faster, but the Copper does have more bass weight and reverb. The clarity and speed of the CK90Pro is a plus with this album bringing out the details while still having a good bass impact. Not that the Copper is bad, but the CK90Pro just seems more in tune with this album. Winner: CK90Pro
TF10: The TF10 has more punchy bass with less reverb than the Copper, and also has more noticeable mid-bass. The Copper presentation is wider and more laid back. The TF10 has more detail, but the clarity is higher with the Copper. The TF10 has the speed advantage. Overall, the TF10 doesn’t sound as balanced or enjoyable as the Copper. Winner: Copper
RE252: Both have bass impact, but the Copper experience is enhanced and much more dynamic and powerful, whereas the RE252 is faster, but sometimes leaves something to be desired. The Copper does have a more laid back, wider presentation, but the detail level and clarity are similar. The only advantage the RE252 has is speed, while the Copper presents with much more power and emotion. Winner: Copper
WM2 silver: The WM2 is a great match for this album with enhanced deep bass and treble and an ability to separate and bring details to the front. The presentation is more forward than the Copper, and while the fine details aren’t there like with the Copper, the presentation allows for the smoothed over details to be easier to hear. Space is a little wider with the Copper, but not by much. Winner: WM2
FX500: The FX500 has nice bass and treble details on par with the Copper with this album, however the FX500 mids have less weight and sound like they need a boost, making the Copper sound balanced in comparison. Space is slightly wider on the Copper, and speed is similar. Winner: Copper
e-Q7: The e-Q7 is very transparent, but compared to the Copper, the bass left me wanting more. The Copper has a wider space with a more laid back presentation, but the e-Q7 has a more 3D space, with the drivers just melting away. Clarity was better with the e-Q7, but there is just something about the presentation with the Copper that is more enjoyable. And I think that something is the sound signature. Winner: Copper
Overall Score: 4–1-3