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EarSonics SM3 Appreciation, Discussion, & Review Thread - Technically Best Universal? (see first... - Page 174  

post #2596 of 2831

Man having no decent IEMS is killing me... SoundEarphones says 1 more week :/ .....

 

They just took away their 15% discount coupon to... which makes my snatch of the SM3 at 299 so much more glorious :D

post #2597 of 2831

Pianist - Perhaps you should try and have a listen to the FX700 if the FX500 is anything to go by. The FX500 had remarkable clarity and reproduced the timbre of acoustic instruments more convincingly than any other earphone that I've heard to date.


Edited by iponderous - 7/22/10 at 7:25pm
post #2598 of 2831
Quote:
Originally Posted by shane55 View Post



 


Care to elaborate?
 


For one, it isn't quite as comfortable as the UM3X with the little jagged edges on the SM3s.

post #2599 of 2831


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post


 


To my ears, SM3 has a very natural and powerful sound (outstanding for a BA). The only thing that it lacks is just a tiny bit of clarity for that ultimate "I am there!" feeling. In fact, I have yet to hear a dynamic headphone that has a significantly more natural timbre and a richer sound.


How well does it reproduce the sound of cymbals and drums? That's my litmus test for BA phones and I'm yet to hear one pass it. They have all reproduced cymbal sounds with a brittle, metallic quality that doesn't sound natural to me. BA's are so fast that cymbals lack the decay that they would normally have. Contrary to your experience, I find that dynamic driver earphones do a more convincing job of reproducing the sound of acoustic instruments than BAs to my ears.

 

soozieq commented upon the "fog" that she could detect when listening to the SM3. Now she has come to this phone after listening almost exclusively to the FX700, which would appear to share the pristine clarity of its predecessor the FX500. I understand what soozieq means by this and I feel the same way about both the SE530 and the UM3X, and to a lesser extent the TF10. I suspect that the SM3 shares this trait with them; like a pair of spectacles that require cleaning to restore clarity of vision.


Edited by iponderous - 7/22/10 at 8:19pm
post #2600 of 2831
Quote:
Originally Posted by iponderous View Post


 


How well does it reproduce the sound of cymbals and drums? That's my litmus test for BA phones and I'm yet to hear one pass it. They have all reproduced cymbal sounds with a brittle, metallic quality that doesn't sound natural to me. BA's are so fast that cymbals lack the decay that they would normally have. Contrary to your experience, I find that dynamic driver earphones do a more convincing job of reproducing the sound of acoustic instruments than BAs to my ears.


This is an area I also find critical for listening pleasure. In the case of the SM3 for me this area sounded a bit to bright and tinny when I first started listening to the SM3. Now when I get the right fit they still are not quite right but not as bad as when I first started using the SM3 but I do suspect this is as much head burnin as anything as I now find my MTPC which I used to think had excellent cymbals, slightly off and my new v-Jays poprtable headphones also sound off in comparison to the SM3. So I would agree this is one area where BA's sound different to dynamic IEM.s
 

post #2601 of 2831
Quote:
Originally Posted by iponderous View Post

How well does it reproduce the sound of cymbals and drums? That's my litmus test for BA phones and I'm yet to hear one pass it. They have all reproduced cymbal sounds with a brittle, metallic quality that doesn't sound natural to me. BA's are so fast that cymbals lack the decay that they would normally have. Contrary to your experience, I find that dynamic driver earphones do a more convincing job of reproducing the sound of acoustic instruments than BAs to my ears.

 


x1000!!

 

It amazes me how obsessed people are w/ 'W I D E' soundstage and tolerate little to no decay.  Piano has always been my quick check.  Impact of the keys and hammer, reverb in the body and decay of the notes.  Most BA's sound like paint brushed onto a canvas in 2D rather than living in a 3D world.  Maybe the SM3 is more like a Van Gogh w/ added depth.  Hope so since I was dumb enough to order some.  


Edited by Anaxilus - 7/22/10 at 11:39pm
post #2602 of 2831
Quote:
Originally Posted by iponderous View Post

How well does it reproduce the sound of cymbals and drums? That's my litmus test for BA phones and I'm yet to hear one pass it. They have all reproduced cymbal sounds with a brittle, metallic quality that doesn't sound natural to me. BA's are so fast that cymbals lack the decay that they would normally have. Contrary to your experience, I find that dynamic driver earphones do a more convincing job of reproducing the sound of acoustic instruments than BAs to my ears.

 

soozieq commented upon the "fog" that she could detect when listening to the SM3. Now she has come to this phone after listening almost exclusively to the FX700, which would appear to share the pristine clarity of its predecessor the FX500. I understand what soozieq means by this and I feel the same way about both the SE530 and the UM3X, and to a lesser extent the TF10. I suspect that the SM3 shares this trait with them; like a pair of spectacles that require cleaning to restore clarity of vision.

 

As you know, I come from a very similar experience regarding BA vs. DD, but more recent BA based IEMs fare considerably better in this regard. The e-Q7 reproduce cymbals and drums very convincingly, but ok they are MA (moving armature), not BA. The SM3 render drums extremely well and have an "elastic" quality that I've previously only heard from DD. Moreover, they don't suffer from that "metallic" colouring of treble that I know from most other BA phones and are impressively detailed. Bottom line, I think they render very good cymbals.

 

But sadly all this is somewhat marred by their too forward and thick mids and that's where the "fog" is coming from. With lean and transparent recordings like some electronica or instrumental jazz they have sufficient clarity to make me appreciate their virtues, but as soon as I pick out denser mid-centric material (e.g. a folk/rock tune with two leads, guitar, fiddle and keyboard) they become "foggy" to my ears and highs (cymbals) take a backseat. With classical orchestra (one of my favourit genres) it gets even worse.

 

You've been asking how my 4-way comparison is coming along and I hope to have it ready by the weekend. Oh and speaking of which, the FI-BA-SS are single BA and brilliant with cymbals.

post #2603 of 2831

^ It's not just cymbals James, it's also acoustic instruments such as the piano, guitar, upright bass, as well as drums. As Anaxilus commented, decay, resonance, and I'll add the natural timbre of these instruments, just don't sound as true to life to me through balanced armature phones when compared to their dynamic driver counterparts. I'm prepared to forego the reproduction of almost inaudible details and remarkable instrument separation that the best balanced armature phones can deliver, for the more organic and visceral presentation of a very good dynamic driver earphone. The problem that I continue to have with dynamic driver earphones is that the bass presentation is usually lacking control, but I guess you can't have everything; not yet anyway.

 

The e-Q7 still interests me because of its moving armature design, which appears to share sonic characteristics with both balanced armature and dynamic driver phones. By the way, how does its clarity compare to the SM3 as you hear it? I haven't ruled out the FX700 either, although I remain wary of its highs after my experience with the FX500. However, I have ruled out the SM3 for the reasons that I have already given and your description of its sound presentation lends weight to my decision. Of course I'd still very much like to hear the SM3 for myself as that's the only way to know for sure, but I'm not prepared to shell out the better part of $400 for the privilege.


Edited by iponderous - 7/23/10 at 2:02am
post #2604 of 2831

They are definitely different than dynamic based IEM's but I am starting to prefer that difference as I am finding my MTPC and other dynamic based IEM/headphones exagerated or off in comparison. I may have to switch to dynamic based for a day or two straight to see if this is just brain burnin or simply me finding my prefered sound.

post #2605 of 2831

Just received my new SM3s after sending my broken ones back to Handheld Audio.

 

Thats a one week door to door turnaround - pretty impressive, as HA had to send them off to Earsonics, who then replaced them and sent them back to HA.

 

Can't say how glad I am to have them back. Have been listening to my Radius DDMs in their absence, and as I said before, the DDMs are pretty amazing iems for dynamics. But they are almost totally different in sound signature to the SM3s, and as much as I love the impact and punch of the Radius, I'm a sucker for the smooth beauty and 3D butteryness of the Earsonics.

 

Also, have now finally got chance to test out the new double flanges I had purchased from Earsonics directly (got 5 pairs at 2 euro a pair). Ironically, these arrived the day my SM3 nozzle fell off. Sod's law.

 

The double flanges they sent me are grey and seem slightly smaller all round than the clear ones I received with my first pair.  They are a tighter fit on the nozzle, and the sound hole is a tad narrower in diameter. Fitwise, the good news is these provide me with a much easier, more airtight seal, with less fiddling required to fit my slightly weird shaped right canal. Basically, instead of regular readjustment, these are just whack in and off you go....sweet.

 

Soundwise, doesn't seem to be any downsides to the new ones.  Strangely, I have readjusted back to the SM3 sound much much quicker than I did when I first got them - that might be cos was coming from the DDMs instead of the E-Q7s this time, or it might be that I knew what to expect, or a combo of both, but I am hearing no veil to the music at all, just that liquid loveliness and earstroking sensuality Earsonics are so good at supplying. As these are a new pair, that would seem to indicate there is less mechanical burn in required than I first thought and psychoacoustic burn in has more of a part to play.

 

Bottom line though, am over the moon to have these puppies back in my ears. Its like removing a pair of tight walking boots at the end of a long hard day. As Joni Mitchell once sang "Don't it always go to show, you don't know what you got till its gone".  Amen to that sister.


Edited by Bennyboy71 - 7/23/10 at 2:33am
post #2606 of 2831
Quote:
Originally Posted by iponderous View Post

^ It's not just cymbals James, it's also acoustic instruments such as the piano, guitar, upright bass, as well as drums. As Anaxilus commented, decay, resonance, and I'll add the natural timbre of these instruments, just don't sound as true to life to me through balanced armature phones when compared to their dynamic driver counterparts. I'm prepared to forego the reproduction of almost inaudible details and remarkable instrument separation that the best balanced armature phones can deliver, for the more organic and visceral presentation of a very good dynamic driver earphone. The problem that I continue to have with dynamic driver earphones is that the bass presentation is usually lacking control, but I guess you can't have everything; not yet anyway.

 

The e-Q7 still interests me because of its moving armature design, which appears to share sonic characteristics with both balanced armature and dynamic driver phones. By the way, how does its clarity compare to the SM3 as you hear it? I haven't ruled out the FX700 either, although I remain wary of its highs after my experience with the FX500. However, I have ruled out the SM3 for the reasons that I have already given and your description of its sound presentation lends weight to my decision. Of course I'd still very much like to hear the SM3 for myself as that's the only way to know for sure, but I'm not prepared to shell out the better part of $400 for the privilege.


Could it be that ipondy and myself share the same signature preferences?  Scary, I thought I was normal, oh well.  

 

As for the eq7, haven't heard it but did hear the GR8's and whilst the moving armature does add more dimension than your typical BA it still is short of that dynamic driver character.  So don't get your hopes up IMO.  

post #2607 of 2831

x3 I listen to a lot of acoustic stuff (mainly piano) and the decay and resonance isn't there in BAs. I have always thought it was just me because BAs get a lot of hype, but good thing I'm not alone on this. I could imagine these to do well thought,there is always an exception to the rule. The X10s for example seem to do bass just as well as DDs, according a past discussion here in the forum.

post #2608 of 2831

To my ears, the only headphones I've heard so far that reproduce sounds of at least some real instruments truly realistically are orthodynamic Fostex T50RP. Piano, saxophone, trombones, flutes and acoustic guitars sounded amazing through them. No BA comes close, no dynamic I've heard comes close, except for maybe HD800. But the sub bass and upper treble are very rolled off on these Fostex cans unfortunately, so they are a no go for anything other than instrumental music unless you amp them properly or mod them or something.

post #2609 of 2831

yeah i quite liked the fostex, but the bass and anything below is just not there.

 

i read about one mic designer/modder who uses them to test his stuff,... only he rips off the pads so they sit right on his ears and the bass is more prominent.

post #2610 of 2831


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post




Could it be that ipondy and myself share the same signature preferences?  Scary, I thought I was normal, oh well.  

 

As for the eq7, haven't heard it but did hear the GR8's and whilst the moving armature does add more dimension than your typical BA it still is short of that dynamic driver character.  So don't get your hopes up IMO.  

 

It's just a different kind of normal - like Metamucil.
 

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › EarSonics SM3 Appreciation, Discussion, & Review Thread - Technically Best Universal? (see first post for reviews and info)