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EarSonics SM3 Appreciation, Discussion, & Review Thread - Technically Best Universal? (see first... - Page 176  

post #2626 of 2831

My mistake, didn't associate your recessed comment w/ the FX.  

post #2627 of 2831


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by meurglys0 View Post

Thanks for your reply. Indeed I would really appreciate it if you could comment on how the regular (not remastered) albums of KC, Genesis and VDGG sound with UM3X... Because the mentioned remasters of these three groups are all compressed to death and loud as hell: all the dynamics of the orginal music is gone. They are also very bright. VDGG remasters are the worst of the bunch for me. Don't get me wrong; it might be your preference. Many people like that type of remastered sound. I prefer a more relaxed sound with the dynamics of the albums preserved. Most modern remasters just hurt my ears and give me headaches. Plus the latest Genesis and King Crimson releases are not only compressed but they are also remixes of the orginal albums, which is not acceptable for me... 40th anniversary edition of ItCotCK is better than the others though, but still not my cup of tea.

 

This is the waveform of Cirkus from the orginal release of Lizard (EG Records EGCD 4):

 

URL]


And this is what they have done to it in the 40th Anniversary edition of Lizard:

 

Cirkus 2009.jpg

 

The result is a loud mess, IMHO.

 

I strongly recommend you to give the uncompressed versions of these great albums a listen with that high-end IEM you've got. I'm sure it will shine even more!

 

You might want to check out these links for further information about what compression does to music:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war

 

Also this forum is one of the headquarters of those favoring the audiophile quality sound over the modern compressed music:

 

http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/index.php

 

I would like to hear your comments on how the regular albums of KC, Genesis and VDGG sound with your UM3X, since they have more balanced sound and surely are not as bright as the remasters, so they will reveal the potential weaknesses of UM3X if the highs are also a bit recessed on it, like they are supposedly on the SM3...

 


I can see where you're coming from re the 'loudness war' after the mp3 revolution started. But I guess we disagree on some SQ issues.

 

While I agree that often the dynamics in remastered albums is sacrificed or down right spoilt, I think the latest KC remasters were done superbly well by Steven Wilson with 100% supervision by R Fripp - I trust Fripp's ears. Luckily for the most part the quiet passages remain quiet and the loud ones remain loud; something that cannot always be said for some of the Genesis remasters, namely the '76-'82 period - eg A Trick of the Tail is loud throughout. However, Trespass, Nursery Cryme & Foxtrot have been, for the most part, genuinely improved (to these ears) - after over 30 years you can finally hear things which were (almost) lost in the original mix. Back in the vinyl days I always wondered why some of this great music, and specially some of the early albums, had been recorded so poorly; my guess is that KC, VdGG & Genesis were not signed by big labels as P Floyd, Zeppelin or The Beatles were.

 

I'm not someone who's into treble and thumping bass (bass head) and on the whole appreciate more solid mid frequencies. But all those recordings I mentioned always sounded quite dull and it was only the sheer power of the quality of the music and musicianship that's always made me listen to those albums.

 

In answer to your question re the non-remastered albums all I can say is that I didn't enjoy them as much as the newer versions. Unfortunately the VdGG original CD's I sold back in 2005 when the remasters came out, so I cannot compare those anymore using my ES3X.

 

There is a lot, and I mean A LOT, of praise for the UM3X although admittedly some people find them dull/ lifeless/ boring. I personally think they have a fantastic neutral balance and natural sound, and EXCELLENT instrument separation. The ES3X ($850) have even more of that, but with added clarity and slightly more extension along the whole frequency range, perhaps by 10-15%. Seems to me the SM3 is similar to these two Westone products.

 

You can see in my sig other top-tier universals I've had. The latest was the IE8, bought a  few days ago, but sent back after only one week. Haven't tried the SM3 and would love to do so, but from the universals I've had my favourite, without a doubt, was the UM3X.


Edited by music_4321 - 7/26/10 at 2:07am
post #2628 of 2831

If someone put a gun to your head and you had to choose just one of your iems Eric, which would it be?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericp10 View Post

So lately I've been giving the FX700 and DDM a lot more attention, and on some days about equal amount of attention as I've usually give my SM3. And now I can understand what James444 stated several posts back when he gave his first impressions about the SM3. I'm afraid the SM3 is losing some of its luster for me. Hmmmm? Let me think about that  more. Perhaps losing its luster isn't the proper phrase. I still find the SM3 an outstanding IEM and the best BA I've ever heard. But what I'm finding is that it can be a bit too much on some tunes - as James stated. I love the forward mids, don't get me wrong, but the DDM has just as forward mids too (if not as refined) and still gives space and a greater soundstage. The SM3s are seem constantly like in you face, which is wonderful for sonic imaginative music from Radiohead, but not necessarily Al Green or Phil Collins. As and example, the music of the SM3 is so in your face that when Phil Collins is singing on "Easy Lover" he sound fantastic, but in the chorus it's basically Phil and Philip Bailey singing in duet. In the dynamic drivers I can clearly separate the voices in the duet, but not so much with the SM3. The voices, while detailed and clear, seem to smear into each other. 

 

In addition, whereas the highs details and quality may be better in the SM3 than the DDM (a lot better) and FX700 (a tad bit better), I can hear the highs better in the latter two than in the former. I never thought the highs were recessed sounding, but now I see it. This is disappointing because the SM3 (along with the Monsters) got me into enjoying highs more. Now, I use to the hear the highs better in the SM3, but I don't know what has happened. I'm speculating that I'm not getting the same great seals I got initially. The stock double flanges are the best, but as you wear them for a great length of time, they seem to shrink some from the heat of the ear and bunch up a little. I am not certain about the fit, but I'm still experimenting to see if this is the culprit. 

 

With that said, the SM3 is still great. I don't want to discourage new SM3 buyers or send them into worrying about what have they done in purchasing this product, but these are just some concerns I have. Please remember that although I jumped on the SM3 bandwagon (after a long time of refusing to hear it), I never called it the end all universal IEM. I didn't think so then, and I don't think so now. I still do think it's one of the best universal out there, and the best BA I've heard. That may change if I hear the SE535 anytime soon, or it may not. Hands down, to me, the SM3 is way better than the SE530 or TF10, but it's interesting that I'm enjoying the FX700 (and to some extent the DDM) just as much. It may be that those dynamics just possess more of the sound sig. that resonates with me. I have never, however, considered myself a lover of dynamics over balanced armatures.  Again - because I know someone is going to read this wrong - I AM NOT SAYING I HATE THE SM3 NOW!! I'M NOT SAYING THAT...LOL.  Happy listening.

post #2629 of 2831


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post


 


I can see where you're coming from re the 'loudness war' after the mp3 revolution started. But I guess we disagree on some SQ issues.

 

While I agree that often the dynamics in remastered albums is sacrificed or down right spoilt, I think the latest KC remasters were done superbly well by Steven Wilson with 100% supervision by R Fripp - I trust Fripp's ears. Luckily for the most part the quiet passages remain quiet and the loud ones remain loud; something that cannot always be said for some of the Genesis remasters, namely the '76-'82 period - eg A Trick of the Tail is loud throughout. However, Trespass, Nursery Cryme & Foxtrot have been, for the most part, genuinely improved (to these ears) - after over 30 years you can finally hear things which were (almost) lost in the original mix. Back in the vinyl days I always wondered why some of this great music, and specially some of the early albums, had been recorded so poorly; my guess is that KC, VdGG & Genesis were not signed by big labels as P Floyd, Zeppelin or The Beatles were.

 

I'm not someone who's into treble and thumping bass (bass head) and on the whole appreciate more solid mid frequencies. But all those recordings I mentioned always sounded quite dull and it was only the sheer power of the quality of the music and musicianship that's always made me listen to those albums.

 

In answer to your question re the non-remastered albums all I can say is that I didn't enjoy them as much as the newer versions. Unfortunately the VdGG original CD's I sold back in 2005 when the remasters came out, so I cannot compare those anymore using my ES3X.

 

There is a lot, and I mean A LOT, of praise for the UM3X although admittedly some people find them dull/ lifeless/ boring. I personally think they have a fantastic neutral balance and natural sound, and EXCELLENT instrument separation. The ES3X ($850) have even more of that, but with added clarity and slightly more extension along the whole frequency range, perhaps by 10-15%. Seems to me the SM3 is similar to these two Westone products.

 

You can see in my sig other top-tier universals I've had. The latest was the IE8, bought a  few days ago, but sent back after only one week. Haven't tried the SM3 and would love to do so, but from the universals I've had my favourite, without a doubt, was the UM3X.

Thanks so much for taking the trouble and checking and then writing how those sound with your UM3X.

 

As for the other matters, though this is not the right place for them... Not only the remastered/modern sound of the albums bug me for making the quiet passages loud, but I find them to exagerate almost every aspect of music, making them sound harsh and unnatural. I prefer the regular versions of albums because I can hear more details in them just because they are easier on the ear and more balanced etc. In fact I prefer the vinyl sound for exactly these reasons (along with the vinyls being usually more detailed, more full and airier) over the cd versions. A perfectly done vinyl rip (many people on the net attempt to, but only just a few people manage to do that by the way) is almost always better than the cd releases of the same albums. I advise you to find pbthal's blog and check out the great vinyl rips he has shared. There's a great vinyl rip of In The Wake of Poseidon for instance. The difference between the regular versions and the vinyl rips of Genesis albums are not much though, IMO. In that blog you will find great vinyl rips of Pink Floyd albums; I strongly recommend chceking out especially The Wall, Animals and Dark Side of The Moon... I don't think the cds ever sounded so good. Anyway... That's about all I have to say... 

 

Regards.
 


Edited by meurglys0 - 7/26/10 at 2:42am
post #2630 of 2831

 

Quote:

If someone put a gun to your head and you had to choose just one of your iems Eric, which would it be?

I am struggling to imagine a lifelike situation where such a thing could happen

post #2631 of 2831

We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto. You can put away that limited imagination of yours.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Photofan1986 View Post

 

I am struggling to imagine a lifelike situation where such a thing could happen

post #2632 of 2831

Hehe

post #2633 of 2831

Some wives act this way.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Photofan1986 View Post

 

I am struggling to imagine a lifelike situation where such a thing could happen

post #2634 of 2831

Just received my SM3 tday and straight out of the box they sound very good,left them playing from the laptop the last couple of hours and just had a chance to listen to them.

They sound remarkable, considering that on Sat we had a mini meet and I had a chance to listen to the Stax 02 and the Audez'e LCD2.Tried to listen to another headfiers JH13's but as they are customs that was futile.

Certainly the best IEM in terms of fit and SQ that I have owned thus far.

I still have the UM56 sleeves from when I owned the UM3X and will see if they can fit the SM3.

Listening to my fav. tracks from Norah Jones/Alisson Krauss/Katherine Jenkins never sounded better. Rich mids without the SE530 rolloff and tight controlled bass.

 

post #2635 of 2831
Quote:
Originally Posted by meurglys0 View Post

Thanks so much for taking the trouble and checking and then writing how those sound with your UM3X.

 

As for the other matters, though this is not the right place for them... Not only the remastered/modern sound of the albums bug me for making the quiet passages loud, but I find them to exagerate almost every aspect of music, making them sound harsh and unnatural. I prefer the regular versions of albums because I can hear more details in them just because they are easier on the ear and more balanced etc. In fact I prefer the vinyl sound for exactly these reasons (along with the vinyls being usually more detailed, more full and airier) over the cd versions. A perfectly done vinyl rip (many people on the net attempt to, but only just a few people manage to do that by the way) is almost always better than the cd releases of the same albums. I advise you to find pbthal's blog and check out the great vinyl rips he has shared. There's a great vinyl rip of In The Wake of Poseidon for instance. The difference between the regular versions and the vinyl rips of Genesis albums are not much though, IMO. In that blog you will find great vinyl rips of Pink Floyd albums; I strongly recommend chceking out especially The Wall, Animals and Dark Side of The Moon... I don't think the cds ever sounded so good. Anyway... That's about all I have to say... 

 

Regards.
 


Yes, I'll ceartainly check the blog you mention.

 

Best of luck on your quest for audio nirvana!

post #2636 of 2831
Quote:
Originally Posted by koonhua90 View Post

I tried to search, but could't find comparison between the DBA-02 and the SM3. I mean, looking at the price difference, you'd definitely expect sm3 to sound better, but how much better is it? I know Eric heard both before, so does slaters70. Guys, any opinion on this?


Haven't written mine yet, koohua90 buddy. Waiting for the SM2 to get here and will probably do a three-way comparision of the DAA-02, SM2 and SM3.

post #2637 of 2831

LOL @ Bennyboy. I have to choose by being coerced in such a violent manner? I would probably be shot because I would take too long deciding. If they made me just choose a BA, the SM3. If they made me just choose a dynamic driver, definitely the FX700. I can't answer you question directly. If I could tweak some things in the SM3, in general, that would be my choices. But I can't, so if I just had to choose just one universal, right now I'm leaning toward the FX700.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennyboy71 View Post

If someone put a gun to your head and you had to choose just one of your iems Eric, which would it be?

 


 
post #2638 of 2831

I posted some brief comparisons between the DBAs and the SM3s here and there. The way I hear it, I received the DBAs a little before the SM3s, and as most report, the SM3s were way too warm out of the box. Unlike others, however, I never quite bonded with the SM3 treble, even after burn-in, as it always seems too far off in the distance, even veiled, for my tastes. I am an avowed ER4P/CK10 fan, though I no longer own either of those IEMs for different reasons (mainly fit). The DBAs just scratch the treble/mid itch for me, with just enough added bass (which also is tight, punchy and clean) to make them the best IEMs for me, cost notwithstanding. Again, "for me" is the operative phrase.

 

I have no doubts that others who have heard/own both will favor the SM3s, but when I weighed the price to performance ratio, it was a no brainer. But even if they had cost exactly the same, either up or down, I would still choose the DBAs as my go-to IEM.

 

As I have posted elsewhere, what the DBAs have done is permit me the chance to sit back, reassess my search for a great universal IEM, and just admit that to get where I really want to go, the next stop is either a JH model (10X3 Pro or 13), or maybe even wait for some reviews on the Westone ES5, though right now I am tilted a bit to the JH path.

 

I know all those fine arguments against customs (resale, stuck with the same sound sig, etc), but the overwhelming consensus is once you have crossed into high-quality custom territory, the universal search really becomes superfluous.

 

I have reached that point. And the DBAs, god bless them, have allowed me to really enjoy my music while I stockpile some cash for the custom purcase. The SM3s, as good as they are for many, did not deliver that type of experience for me. 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by koonhua90 View Post

I tried to search, but could't find comparison between the DBA-02 and the SM3. I mean, looking at the price difference, you'd definitely expect sm3 to sound better, but how much better is it? I know Eric heard both before, so does slaters70. Guys, any opinion on this?


Edited by slaters70 - 7/26/10 at 8:15am
post #2639 of 2831
Quote:
Originally Posted by slaters70 View Post

I posted some brief comparisons between the DBAs and the SM3s here and there. The way I hear it, I received the DBAs a little before the SM3s, and as most report, the SM3s were way too warm out of the box. Unlike others, however, I never quite bonded with the SM3 treble, even after burn-in, as it always seems too far off in the distance, even veiled, for my tastes. I am an avowed ER4P/CK10 fan, though I no longer own either of those IEMs for different reasons (mainly fit). The DBAs just scratch the treble/mid itch for me, with just enough added bass (which also is tight, punchy and clean) to make them the best IEMs for me, cost notwithstanding. Again, "for me" is the operative phrase.

 

I have no doubts that others who have heard/own both will favor the SM3s, but when I weighed the price to performance ratio, it was a no brainer. But even if they had cost exactly the same, either up or down, I would still choose the DBAs as my go-to IEM.

 

As I have posted elsewhere, what the DBAs have done is permit me the chance to sit back, reassess my search for a great universal IEM, and just admit that to get where I really want to go, the next stop is either a JH model (10X3 Pro or 13), or maybe even wait for some reviews on the Westone ES5, though right now I am tilted a bit to the JH path.

 

I know all those fine arguments against customs (resale, stuck with the same sound sig, etc), but the overwhelming consensus is once you have crossed into high-quality custom territory, the universal search really becomes superfluous.

 

I have reached that point. And the DBAs, god bless them, have allowed me to really enjoy my music while I stockpile some cash for the custom purcase. The SM3s, as good as they are for many, did not deliver that type of experience for me. 

 


 


 


Thanks for your response. I feel the same as you, somehow listening to sm3 leaves me wanting for more bite/edge in the music. It's tiring to keep on buying universals, while still not getting the sound and fit you want. Well, I jumped on the JH bandwagon, it's been one week but it's not in the lab yet, I really can't wait for it to come. 

post #2640 of 2831

You ordered the 13s? I am not sure what I will get yet, but probably either the 13s or the less expensive 10X3 Pro.

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