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Westone UM3X vs. Earsonics SM3 - Page 9

Poll Results: Westone UM3X vs. Earsonics SM3

Poll expired: Jun 4, 2010  
  • 7% (1)
    Westone UM3X
  • 92% (12)
    Earsonics SM3
13 Total Votes  
post #121 of 141
Originally Posted by darknessproz View Post

What did you expect? The SM3 are currently the FOTM at head-fi. Read the UM3X appreciation thread, at one point, it WAS considered the ULTIMATE iem blah blah blah. I guarantee that in a couple of months, another iem will be touted as the best and so on.


current? The SM3 FOTM period has already passed.

post #122 of 141

Hmm, not sure about that. Never followed the SM3 thread closely. What's the current FOTM than? DBA-02?

post #123 of 141

ive tried the sm3, and i have the um3x, i like my um3x but they are pretty even, details on the um3x wins but sm3 is better at everything else

post #124 of 141
Originally Posted by darknessproz View Post

What did you expect? The SM3 are currently the FOTM at head-fi. Read the UM3X appreciation thread, at one point, it WAS considered the ULTIMATE iem blah blah blah. I guarantee that in a couple of months, another iem will be touted as the best and so on.

IMHO, the SM3's FOTM status has passed. It's weaknesses have come up and been discussed, and it is not considered the best by everyone...

post #125 of 141

I'm a lucky owner of both the SM3 and UM3X. I consider myself as a beginner, thus I can not like many others here express the differences in technical terms.


For me, I think there is no meaning in deciding which one them is "the best". After reading through this thread, I would say I for the most part agree about both earphones' strengths and flaws.


Both earphones are exceptionally good, but different. I for instance have decided to keep both. UM3X performs well with for instance music that has women vocal and/or classical instruments. And they perform pretty well in situation when I want to sit down and "analyze" the music, picking up instrumental tones, imagining how the artist pick the strings of a guitar etc.


SM3 on the other hand suits me better when I just wanna have fun with the music. It is a well allrounder for all sorts of music and suits me well in a casual settings, like go out and do some shopping, sitting on a buss etc.


Another fact that made me keep both earphones is that it's nice to change the sound signature from time to time, since I have the tendency to getting bored with that particular sound signature after hearing that extensively.

post #126 of 141

Do you find the midrange on the UM3X thick?

post #127 of 141

No...Isolated, I find the UM3X precise and clear. Well that stated from a person with yet untrained ears ;)


Relatively to the SM3, it's hard to tell. My hypothesis is that UM3X strives to reproduce the exactly sounds as is from the source. So if the source is precise and clear in the midrange, it would probably sounds like that through a UM3X. The SM3 on the contrary may compensate in cases where the source lacks some precision and clearance. But that it's just my thinking, and with no groundings to back that up.

post #128 of 141

bought a sm3 to stand in for my um3x while I'm sending it back for repairs.



Coming to the sm3 from the um3x, first impressions:

  • vocals(mids) were distant on the sm3 as compared to the um3x
  • bigger "soundstage", "airier", because the overall presentation is more distant as compared to the um3x
  • less body in the mids (slightly thinner, not as thick sounding)
  • less mid bass impact (i would have preferred slightly more bass impact and quantity), but very good low bass that extends well, albeit slightly on the soft side
  • could hear some details better on the sm3 (lyrics were better pronounced as um3x's thick sound and slightly mid bass heavy sound made certain things sound slightly muffled as compared to the sm3)
  • sound quality is on par with um3x
  • after using um3x exclusively for nearly 2 years, sm3 felt slightly thin and harsh
  • I prefer the fit of the um3x, but the sm3 isn't noticeably uncomfortable in any way.



Further listening slightly changed my impressions of the sm3:

  • vocals(mids) are not as forward as the um3x, but not distant to the extent that they were non involving
  • realized the mids were not thin nor harsh, but coming directly from the um3x the comparatively distant presentation gave the first impression that it was so.
  • biggest reason why i loved the um3x was that it was very sweet sounding, never harsh nor sibilant. sm3s aren't as deliberately "sweet sounding" as the um3x, but nevertheless are well balanced and never harsh sounding IMO, even on high volumes. (I auditioned the westone 4 too which sounded slightly harsh to me over long sessions)
  • can crank up the volume and not worry about harshness or sibilance, similar to the um3x.
  • I miss the slight mid bass emphasis on the um3x when commuting with the sm3 (IMO slight emphasis on the mid bass helps drown out car/train noise), but otherwise the bass quantity on the sm3 is adequate for me.



I will decide which one to keep after getting the um3x back from repairs (i might even keep both).

Edited by windrider - 3/24/11 at 8:59pm
post #129 of 141

hi all, i had the privilege to test Westone 4, UM3X and the SM3 last weekend. Playing from my sansa clip+ with some flac/APE tracks.


To me, Westone 4 have the most detail and clear separation among all. All are easily driven by the sansa clip+. But all of them also generate hiss when played direct from sansa clip+, SM3 being the worse.


I then pair it through iBasso D2+ Boa, reducing the volume on the sansa clip+ to 0DB and crank up the volumn fron the D2+ instead. And the hiss on both of the westone are almost completely eradicated while SM3 still hiss a little. I am looking for a chance to test the set up with iBasso T3D instead and will see how it goes.



post #130 of 141

My SM3 never hissed with the sansa, it never hissed with ipod touch 3rd gen., which is a colder and thinner player compared to the sansa. I think it might be your music file, and I also feel like W4 and SM3 are really on the same level and similar sounding with minor differences.

post #131 of 141
Originally Posted by Madgravity34 View Post


Overall, I think the SM3 was designed more for regular consumer (albeit audiophiles) listening, and as such, has a slightly more v-shaped response curve than the UM3X. I would not call the SM3's treble recessed, just that it does not have the impact or definition that the UM3X's do.


I found that I really prefer the UM3X's, especially after having my ears cleaned, I found I really loved the increased treble clarity and body, as well as the intimate soundstage and imagining.


I recently purchased the UM3Xs and I have been very happy with them in many ways, but in a few areas I am still torn.  I am one of the huddled-masses that leans towards the v-shaped signature and the UM3X couldn't be further from that.  I use my Arrow 12HE to throw a little more bass at my music and it does a good job.  But, the treble of the UM3X is a bit lacking for my taste.  


Your post above is one of the best I have read in this thread.  The only part that I don't understand are the two sections I have highlighted above.  If the SM3 has more of a v-shaped signature than the UM3X then how would the UM3X have increased treble?  Or, were you referring to the "quality" of the treble and not necessarily the volume?  Lastly, am I correct in understanding that volume of the SM3 in both bass and treble it ever-so-slightly boosted compared to the UM3X?


What is most encouraging to me is that the soundstage of the SM3 is slightly wider than the UM3X, which appears to be a little more intimate than I am used to.


I look forward to your reply.

Edited by SoulSyde - 9/11/11 at 6:33pm
post #132 of 141



Hey, I have been terribly busy and have been away from Head-fi for awhile, but I'd be happy to answer your question. After re-reading my post, I do see how it could cause some confusion. You were right on the nail when you said I was distinguishing between the SM3's "volume" in the high-end and low-end versus the UM3X's clarity in the high-end and low-end. To put it bluntly, the SM3's are brighter but don't resolve as many details as the UM3X's do (with my ears) and the Low-end has more bump but is not as tight or fast as the UM3X's.


What I really found about the UM3X's was that I could "taste" every note, and really relish the little details in both the treble and bass when compared to the SM3's. I would definitely say that the SM3's are more fun, as in, if I just wanted to crank some metal or electronic while I work without really paying attention, I would choose the SM3's, but I bought the UM3X's for my listening times, when I simply sit with my eyes closed and take in every part of the music. To me the SM3 vs UM3X debate is like Mp3 vs Flac debate (respectively).


Just for the sake of this post, this is why I own a set of UM3X's and TF10's. I use the TF10's for those times I simply want a fun and bassy IEM, but the UM3X's are my go-to listening set (which is why I had them custom molded). Also, I found that the Corda Stepdance worked much better with my UM3X's than the Arrow I used to own (2.1G). Mostly the Stepdance opened up the soundstage and had incredible low-end. It really brought the Westones into a new league.


I know I might have over-complicated the situation, but I do hope that I answered your question. Ultimately, either set is well above anything the average consumer buys (or even cares too), in the end, it might just be better to have both, because sometimes the UM3X is just not what you are in the mood for and sometimes (or mostly in my case) it is.



post #133 of 141

Madgravity, I'm very appreciative for you succinct and detailed reply.  At this point I am likely going to audition the SM3s and return the pair that do not meet my desired sound signature.  Thank you again!

post #134 of 141

SM3s ordered and on the way.  I should have some very-initial impressions by Wednesday evening.

post #135 of 141

I am very surprised to be writing this, but the SM3 V2s arrived and I think I'm going to stick with the UM3X.  I may need a few more days and various A/B-ing sessions with a variety of tips but I can envision the outcome already.... the SM3s are going back.

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