well i just got mine which the previous owner had for 1 week he said he had 10hrs on them, ive had my e2cs for over 5yrs, i take care of my suff
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- Basic Guide To In Ear CanalphonesLast edited: 3/22/12
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- Basic Guide To In Ear Canalphones
Review: Fischer Audio's DBA-02 - Page 78
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I had a pair of loaner DBA02 arrive Friday and I've only had 60-70 minutes to listen to them so far. They are very similar in sound to the Westone 2, but the Westone 2 have a little more bass impact/presence, slightly more warmth and weight, and a little bigger soundstage. Otherwise timbre and tone (flavor) and detail seems similar. Soundstage is not small at all, just not quite as big as the W2. Bass is not light at all, just not quite as full and strong as the W2. But this can change a lot depending on amp and source.
With just 10 minutes of listening I'd say the DBA-02 are a steal for $144 on sale. There are many similar priced IEM that are very good which I would not buy again, for various reasons - i.e. Phonak PFE (sibilant), q-JAYS (dark), Sleek SA-06 (bland), Klipsch X10 (bass bleeds into lower mids), SE530 (rolled-off treble), Denon C700 (recessed mids in relation to boomy bass). But the DBA-02 would be something I'd look at buying if I didn't already have the W2 and was on a budget.
I'll devote more time listening and comparing over the next few days, and I'll post more if my impressions change. They are definitely worth considering in this price range.
Glad to see you got a pair. I had already sold the W2s when the DBAs arrived (my preference was for the CK10s over the W2s), but as you have read, I am sold on the DBAs. I did however feel the W2s got a little choked up on certain complex music and passages, and that was one reason I let them go. But they also are $229 new. As for soundstage, I really don't remember the W2 soundstage, but to me, with the tips I am using, the DBAs are airy, wide and plenty of weight. As for warmth, that to me is the real strength of the DBAs. They are dynamic, musical and involving, but never come off as brittle or too dry. At the same time, I would not call them warm (that is something I would reserve for a phone like the Westone UM1 or something along those lines).
Anyway, if you have a spare Ety tri-flange sitting around, give them a try. Or bolt on your UM56 tips. For me, the OEM tips were a mistake. But others, not at all.
These borrowed DBA-02 came without any tips, so I used Westone single flange silicone on the DBA-02 and W2 for the comparison. I haven't had time to try out any other tips, but these seem to work just fine. Triple flange make my ears itch.
Again, I feel that they are very similar to the W2, but the W2 are slightly warmer and fuller sounding without giving up any air, soundstage or ambience. I find very little to fault with the DBA-02, and they are a very well done IEM. I'm going to compare them my Triple.fi 10vi Pro, but from memory I'm thinking the DBA-02 are more transparent with better mids, although less bass impact.
I've tried a number of tips with my DBA-02's:
- OEM single flange - mediums give me a good seal and the fabulous DBA sound sig, but the first pair have gotten loose on the nozzles
- Ety triflange - didn't get a good seal
- Ety triflange modded to biflange - still didn't get a good seal
- Shure "large" biflange - good seal, but tendency toward slightly harsh, aggressive treble. Less comfortable for me than single flange.
The only apparent difference from the modded Ety triflanges (other than color) is the length of the tube behind the flanges. I trimmed this by about 1/8", but it is still that much longer than the Ety's. When trimmed and fully installed on the nozzle, the largest flange just barely touches the DBA housing.
- Shure "olives" - good seal and SQ (as good as OEM for me), but the tip removal process is scary. Probably the best isolation.
- Shure grey "soft flex" single flanges - SQ similar to OEM, much more snug fit on the nozzle (but not scary-tight like the olives). What I'm using now.
Thanks to a very generous head-fi-er, I've got another pair of OEMs coming,and will do a more detailed comparison with the Shure greys, which have a much smaller aperture that OEM. I'd offer to include the olives in that comparison, but worry that I'll break something every time I remove one of those.
I've heard that Comply T100 or Tx100 fit, but I've spent enough on Comply tips for other IEMs to know about their limited life and negative affect on the highs.
Okay, while we're on the subject of tips - I did try my UM-56 tips with them, and the DBA-02 sound much better with improved fullness in the low end, but not a real increase in impact or extension. It's like the midbass is not as thin (not too thin before, but this is better). The highs and detail were not adversely affected, despite the added warmth and fullness. This gave the DBA-02 improved presence and weight and they become more believable.
I also tried the Ety triple flange like the ones in yianni's photo above, and they are a small improvement over the Shure/Westone grey softflex signle flange, where the highs are smoother and less grainy. It just made them sound more effortless and transparent than the Shure softflex single flange. They seem to fit loosely on the stalk, but don't come off and get stuck in my ears when I remove the IEM. For universal tips these would be my choice so far.
I don't have any stock tips to try, as the loaners didn't come with any. And I have not tried any Complys or Shure black olive foamies yet. I have to figure out where I stored them. I have the T400 that fit the TF10, NE-7M, and C700 but the holes are too big for the DBA-02.
So tips and ear canal position do make a difference with most IEM, and the DBA-02 are no exception. My advice to new owners - If you don't like them with the tips you are using, try something else. And if you don't like the amp you are using with them, try a different one. For example, they didn't sound so good via Nuforce Icon Mobile, but the Nuforce uDAC is much better. Moving to the DACport they take another step up in sound quality.
As far as where they stand among my other IEM - I still prefer the Westone 2 by a small degree, especially with the UM56. However, just as I prefer the W2 over the Triple.fi 10vi Pro, I also prefer the DBA-02/UM56 combo more than TF10 as well. The TF10 are not bad, but at times they just don't seem to sound as cohesive and real as some other IEM unless I get them paired with just the right amp and source (Pico Slim is a good choice). Heck, I think I like my Monster Turbine Pro Gold more than the TF10 most of the time. The Monster Gold's sound is different than DBA-02 or W2 - sometimes I'd be in the mood for one, then the others at different times. When I want a warmer smoother more intimate sound with better bass impact, I'll grab the Monsters over the DBA or W2, but when I want a bigger space and detail with crisper treble I'd likely grab the DBA or W2 (assuming I didn't have my W3). Note - I have my Monster Gold vs W2 review up at http://www.earphonesolutions.com/monster-turbine-pro-in-ear-speakers-gold.html
Finally, I compared the DBA-02 again to my Denon C700 and now I can't enjoy the Denon if I've been listening to the DBA-02 or W2 for a while. If the Denon are the first IEM I listen to and I acclimate to their sound, it's not bad sounding. But I really prefer to EQ up the Denon's mids to fix their smiley-face frequency response, which is useful on some MP3 players like 5.5g iPod video, but not out of a high end DAC/amp. I paid $199 for the Denon in 2007 and they're worth less than half that now, so it hasn't been worth selling them when I could give them to one of my kids if needed. But I almost never listen to them any more.
Things have come a long way in 3 years, when I preferred my un-amped Denon over my un-amped Shure E4c or un-amped ER6i (which only passed up the Denon when used with a bass boost amp). These DBA-02 are a well balanced and uncolored IEM that beat to many good IEM that came before them. The fact that their sound quality is close to IEM costing $239-$269 online, while costing $100 less is a good thing. The problem is you add $130 for tips when you go the UM56 route. At that point an original Livewires T1 custom might be a better choice.
And you know how many were sold? Mine are cranking away, and I use them every day. You have to give them time before making any durability claims one way or the other.
HPA, I am with you on the Ety triples, best by far for me. And even compared to the UM56, which I also have, I like the Etys better for easy of use (in terms of taking them in and out, etc).
The DBAs are a very good deal, and for me, just the right combo of price and sound. I don't yearn for any of the high-end (re price) universals I used to own.
^^ Well slaters70... I just ordered mine. Got a few weeks until they're in hand (or ear). All in all it sounded like a great value. At approx 1/2 the cost of the SM3, which is also on the way, it would appear like a good price-performance ratio.
i didnt sell you a broken pair
as ive said i only used them for a while then placed back inside
here is my feedback incase you had any doubts
Edited by 2rooi123 - 7/28/10 at 3:31pm
I have carried mine in my pocket, unprotected since day 1. The only noticeable flaw on my pair is that the manufacturer name is starting to rub off. Otherwise than that - not a single problem. They sound awesome...hence why they are constantly traveling with me.
@HeadphoneAddict: sorry about the tips. They got mixed up in another earphone case so it is right there. If it helps the stock tips are not very good imo so you didn't lose out on any especially considering you have UM56 tips.
In terms of build I'm not sure how valid it is but they have traveled across the country to California and slowly making it's way back to New York and are still up and running :) Or rather if anything it shows the ability of my sound magic case to protect them..I can't wait to get mine back :)
Just read this from treos facebook.
It has been confirmed. DBA-02 will only be reaching our shores 14th Aug 2010.
Dont know exactly what that means, I guess we have to wait even longer than that... damm
i agree with that, just hope that they don't use TBA-03 for naming quite silly because people tend to know TBA as To Be Announced... LOL.
sorry for silly jokes.
- Review: Fischer Audio's DBA-02
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