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Need new IEMs (maybe UM3x or e-Q7s)

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I realize I'm repeating the most common thread on the planet 'what should I buy?' but without the ability to audition different phones, its tough to decide.

I have owned Ety 4ps. The things I liked about them is great isolation, very detailed and seemingly quite accurate. Things I was less than thrilled about included sounding somewhat harsh from time to time, particularly on poor recordings. Also, I kept breaking the little plastic tips somehow. While the bass wasn't overwhelming, with a proper fit, it seemed adequate to me.

I then owned the Shure 530s (which I've now lost). They seemed warmer and more engaging but less detailed (rolled off highs?). The isolation wasn't quite as good as the Etys but they seemed to have a somewhat bigger sound (I'm not sure whether you'd call it a better soundstage).

I'm hoping to find something that incorporates the best of both worlds. I generally listen to 'alternative', rock, country, etc. (almost always music with vocals). I need to be able to use the phones at the gym, running, on a plane, etc, so reasonable isolation is critical.

Budget is not too big of any issue (probably like to keep it under $500USD unless there is a compelling reason to go higher). Based on the existing threads, I'm considering:

Westone UM3x (not that interested in custom fit of next model up and the apparent intentional coloration of the Westone 3 scares me).

Ortofons e-Q7s.

Any thoughts based on the above or others that should be considered? Thanks for reading/participating in another what should I buy thread.

Matt
post #2 of 17
FWIR the E-Q7's isolation is maybe slightly above average. The UM3X on the other hand can use shure olives and I assume shure/ety triple flanges so I'd expect isolation to be much better. I considered the E-Q7 as a next IEM a little while ago but the underwhelming isolation compared to some of its competitors put me off.
post #3 of 17
Haven't heard the Ortofon but regarding the UM3X:

Has good detail with the highs and mids, and the bass is more than adequate and very delicious. Separation is unreal. So it has the best of both worlds in having a very detailed sound that you could say is analytical like the Etys, but still sounds very engaging because of the low end presence and musical mids.

Its main drawback IMO is that it has like zero soundstage, so if you liked the "bigger sound" from the SE530 these are as flat as a brick.
post #4 of 17
The um3x has pretty good highs, not fatiguing at all, but still lacks a little for my taste so I have to EQ. Although I have not heard the shure, most reviews say that their highs are really rolled off.

The bass on the um3x is amazing, it's definitely more impact than the ety so if you found the ety bass adequate, I'm not sure you would like the change. I'm also using ety triple flange tips on my um3x so the isolation is on par with the ety.
post #5 of 17
BTW
-- regarding isolation the UM3X is more than adequate and a nice phone for use running or at the gym if isolation is essential to you (personally I prefer poor isolation for road work).

Another option you might want to try is the Triple.Fi 10. It is very detailed with very excellent highs, but the low end is still very impactful and punchy, it has a very engaging sound. Main issue with this headphone is the horrible ergonomics which could result in fit issues. You *might* have trouble keeping a good seal on your ears while jogging.
post #6 of 17
I have the ortos in my ears right now with large sennhieser double flange tips on and isolation is very good ,with music playing i cant hear enything elso and without music playing its still very good
post #7 of 17
Ok, have both right now. UM3X is overall warmer with more bass(but slightly slower, booming bass). Orto has better high, colder mid and quicker bass. The fit of UM3X(with medium gray Westone silicon tips) is 5 times better than Orto with Sony hybrid though.
post #8 of 17
I don't own them, but will the Ortofon be OK for gym / running use ? I'd inquire for that because they don't seem like the kind of earphones that would be perfect for that.

I own the W3 and I've tried the UM3x : they have superb ergonomics and will be OK for gym and running use. Even better in your case : the UM3x are now sold with a removable cable. Since the cable will be the weakest part for gym / running use, that could be a great asset.

Soundwise, the UM3x are likely to sit right in between the SE530 and ER4P in the mids and treble, but they'll have more bass (and of a higher quality) than both of them. Nonetheless, their bass is not particularly overwhelming.

The problem is that their soundstage isn't very wide. It is, however, very deep, and they have very good imaging. They'll have as many details as the ER4P if not quite a lot more, but you'll feel that they don't push those details too forward since they don't have a frequency spike in the upper mids / lower trebles. But they'll all be there. I'm not sure though that their highs will sparkle as much as the ER4P - again, think in terms of average between SE530 and ER4P. However, they're very good (cymbals sound very realistic for example).

From what I've read, the Ortofon will be soundwise a very good bet as well - but you might want to wait for more opinions.

if you're looking for something in between the SE530 and ER4P, I would seriously avoid, as you seemed to think, both the IE8 and W3 - their frequency response is V-shaped and their sound signature just won't fit with your description (they both have a strong emphasis on mid-basses, the W3 trebles can be at times as fatiguing as the ER4P if not more depending on persons and fit, and the IE8 trebles won't sparkle as much as the ER4P. Their mids will also disapoint you).

You might also want to look at the Earsonics SM3 (they're bloodily costly but still within your budget) - they could be better than almost anything else out there. However, the very liquid and organic Earsonics sound signature might not be adapted to the hardest and dirtiest rock (but it will be great for all other kinds of music including all other kinds of rock).

Hope that helps - and I'm sure you'll find plenty of other good suggestions.
post #9 of 17
Also consider the Westone W2s. They have a larger soundstage compared to UM3x, they are less warm, and several people in the Westone 2 impressions thread who have owned the ER4Ps say that they are as detailed, but with better bass and fuller sound. They wont be as textured as the UM3x though.

They will have higher isolation than the Shures if you use them with the foam tips supplies (although not quite as high as Ety [Etys have the best isolation short of customs], but close).
post #10 of 17
The orto wouldn't be very good for running I don't think
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the feedback. I'll probably give the Westones a try although I'm curious about the earsonics now.

Mochan--running on the road was a little scarey with the 4Ps. Probably too much isolation for the road but perfect for the gym, planes, etc.

Might have to do some research on the Earsonics and/or decide whether to wait on the detachable cabled version of the Westones.

Thanks for the input. Is there anyplace to get the Earsonics in the US or a recommended place to pick up the Westones?

Thanks again.

Matt
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattgumaer View Post
Thanks for all the feedback. I'll probably give the Westones a try although I'm curious about the earsonics now.

Mochan--running on the road was a little scarey with the 4Ps. Probably too much isolation for the road but perfect for the gym, planes, etc.

Might have to do some research on the Earsonics and/or decide whether to wait on the detachable cabled version of the Westones.

Thanks for the input. Is there anyplace to get the Earsonics in the US or a recommended place to pick up the Westones?

Thanks again.

Matt
I don't know about the UM3x availability in the USA.

For the Earsonics, you'll have to import them from their website :

EarSonics ® / Ear Sonics in-ear monitors / custom earphones / in ears / ear monitors / earplugs / earmolds.

Don't be afraid because of the translation - yeah, it sucks. Trust me, they're very serious and the customer service is fantastic.

Also, their price is 350 WITH TAX, and probably if my mathematical skills aren't that terrible around 290 without - still very expensive in dollars (387 + possible customs taxes).

However, I'd wait if I were you, because there are only a handful of head-fi feedbacks about them. The French forums are just raving about them about pretty much everything, but it would be nice to have different points of view. However so far I've read the following comments :

- Better details and instrument separation than the UM3x (that must really be something then)
- Soundstage as wide as IE8
- Superb imaging and depth
- "Spot on" EQ - ie very flat and neutral (though I bet we're talking about the Hi-Fi side of neutrality, that is to say rather warm but not too much)
- Very tight and controlled bass (at least tighter than IE8), with thunderous and fast impact. I haven't read anything about its texture. They have less bass quantity than the IE8, but I cannot say in comparison to the UM3x. I bet given my SM2 experience that they'll slide in between the SE530 and UM3x in terms of quantity.
- Superb mids (very likely to be the best of the current universals, given Earsonics' pedigree), and super extra ultra "liquid".
- Airy and extended treble
- Effortlessly dynamic - they sound "big", "powerful"

They also have the exact same ergonomics as the UM3x, but there isn't a version with removable cables.

On the one hand, that sounds too good to be true (hence my recommendation to wait a bit), but on the other hand, Earsonics has been around for years, is producing a two-way three drivers custom that goes head to head with the JH13 (and was designed more than four years ago) and is a very serious company - so they're totally able to pull this off.

Also, even if the SM2 might have the traditional Earsonics sound, they just won't work at all for fast-paced rock (because contrary to the SM3, they're slow and tend to become a bit muddy). So if you finally go the Earsonics way, don't try to save 50 euros given the genres you listen to.

Good luck in your search, and remember that all those IEMs are very good, I'm pretty sure the UM3x and SM3 will both be improvements over your precedent ones (don't know about the E-Q7).
post #13 of 17
wow if the sm3 lives up to that, that's really impressive!

almost sounds too good to be true...
post #14 of 17
The UM3X excel in instrument separation and imaging perhaps slightly better than e-Q7 in this area and both perform well with vocals. But the e-Q7 is more detailed and more transparent than the UM3X and it does have better treble performance than UM3X as well. Soundstage is also bigger on the e-Q7.

You won't find isolation lacking with both the e-Q7 and the UM3X but you will find the e-Q7 to be a bit exercise unfriendly. By no means is their build quality bad but you will have a hard time keeping them in your ears while running. My advice to avoid any expensive earphones as they will be in danger of damage no matter how tough they are but if you insist on using them for exercise the UM3X would be a safer bet. Hope this helps and good luck.
post #15 of 17
+1 for UM3X isolation and comfort is really good
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