current? The SM3 FOTM period has already passed.
current? The SM3 FOTM period has already passed.
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...
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.
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.
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:
Further listening slightly changed my impressions of the sm3:
I will decide which one to keep after getting the um3x back from repairs (i might even keep both).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.