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Westone ES5 - Page 353

post #5281 of 5542
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post

Originally designed that way, yes, but in the past few years I think the design technology and growing portable listening audiophile crowd has forced companies to make more audiophile type CIEM's with huge soundstages or hyper trebles sort of going away from the dedicated stage monitor sound (like UM3X) and getting these things to sound more and more like headphones.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cooperpwc View Post

Well I quite disagree with the last few posts. A delicate rendering of treble is one of the keys to "audiophile" (if we must use this term). Even Etymotic acknowledges that most will prefer the ER4S or ER4P to the ER4B. The ER4S is generally considered the "audiophile" choice. The ER4B is more accurate in its treble and simply too bright.

 

Speaking of which, if flat frequency response equals "audiophile", why not just get the ER4S (or ER4B)? They won't sound as good as the ES5 but you will save a bunch of cash and they will be more "audiophile" by that definition.

 

Lastly the ES5 is very much a hybrid monitoring/consumer offering. Westone used to distinguish the two by providing a mid hump for stage monitoring. That ended with the ES5. I am also quite certain that the majority of their sales are consumer. They have a successful product - a good one too.

I do think that the positioning of the ES5 as a consumer oriented product vs. a professional monitoring solution is a semantic issue. It's consumer in the sense that the general public has access to it, but that only comprises a very small subset of the population. The entry barrier is simply too large when you consider cost and the time/effort/resale depreciation/blind trust associated with purchasing a product unheard (Westone doesn't offer demo units for the ES5 that I know of) that also requires a trip to the audiologist. Heck, had the TG!334 been available in the states for $900, I would have just gone with that as there's less involved in getting it into my hands, and similarly, I'd think most audiophiles would sooner opt for the Westone 4 as opposed to the ES5. It's designed for stage monitoring first and foremost I think, as that community would by and large be the main target demographic for the ES5. The fact that it's good enough for audiophiles is a fringe benefit for Westone that can be advertised with a couple of words on their website. 

post #5282 of 5542
Quote:
Originally Posted by Idsynchrono_24 View Post

 

 

I do think that the positioning of the ES5 as a consumer oriented product vs. a professional monitoring solution is a semantic issue. It's consumer in the sense that the general public has access to it, but that only comprises a very small subset of the population. The entry barrier is simply too large when you consider cost and the time/effort/resale depreciation/blind trust associated with purchasing a product unheard (Westone doesn't offer demo units for the ES5 that I know of) that also requires a trip to the audiologist. Heck, had the TG!334 been available in the states for $900, I would have just gone with that as there's less involved in getting it into my hands, and similarly, I'd think most audiophiles would sooner opt for the Westone 4 as opposed to the ES5. It's designed for stage monitoring first and foremost I think, as that community would by and large be the main target demographic for the ES5. The fact that it's good enough for audiophiles is a fringe benefit for Westone that can be advertised with a couple of words on their website. 

 

Hi, this post isn't just addressed to you, but all who have recently posted impressions of the ES5.  For some background, my impressions of the ES5 are here in this thread - http://www.head-fi.org/t/495931/westone-es5/1245#post_7330188

 

I've been using my ES5 for over 2 years and I have not heard any universal IEM that competes with these.  Not even my W4, or the vastly expensive AKG K3003i that I heard at RMAF this year.  The ES5 are amazing performers for the price, and that's coming from someone who is using a CD transport, DAC, amp, and full-size headphones that cost over $13,500 total.

 

No, the ES5 don't sound as good as that, but the price to performance ratio is impressive and gets better as the source, amp and cables get better.  And, the ES5 might actually be a better "all around jack of all trades" headphone than my Stax rig.  I think the ES5 are tuned for the audiophile, or at least my particular set with the way that they fit and interact with my ears and hearing.  

 

To give people a point of reference, my ES3X sounds more like my HD800 and my ES5 sound more like my HE-500 or HE-6 (and in my 2009 flagship IEM review I said the JH13Pro are more like my Stax O2 Mk1, and my UE11Pro are more like a recabled Denon D5000) - and that doesn't mean the sound exactly alike, more like "reminiscent of" the other.  

 

I'm in the process of comparing my ES5 to a new JH16Pro Freq-phase and they are not that far apart, although there are some clear differences that I'll go into with an upcoming review.  But it's pretty clear to me that the ES5 deserve to be called a flagship IEM, even if I find another one that I prefer.

 

Note - I'm 50 years old and if one IEM or full size headphone has a more extended treble than another, I'm not really going to appreciate much if any improvement over 12,500 Hz.  Another problem is that nobody hears things the same.  And, we also know that the depth, fit, and seal of your IEM in the ear canal can make a huge difference in the sound vs what is intended or vs what I hear with mine.

post #5283 of 5542

Please do elaborate a bit more on the differences between the two because I've been having my eyes on the Freq-phase stuff. Just a quick comparison, basic points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post

 

/snip

 

I'm in the process of comparing my ES5 to a new JH16Pro Freq-phase and they are not that far apart, although there are some clear differences that I'll go into with an upcoming review.  But it's pretty clear to me that the ES5 deserve to be called a flagship IEM, even if I find another one that I prefer.

 

Note - I'm 50 years old and if one IEM or full size headphone has a more extended treble than another, I'm not really going to appreciate much if any improvement over 12,500 Hz.  Another problem is that nobody hears things the same.  And, we also know that the depth, fit, and seal of your IEM in the ear canal can make a huge difference in the sound vs what is intended or vs what I hear with mine.

post #5284 of 5542
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post

cooper, your thoughts are well taken. 

 

I did not understand a natural or "a delicate rendering" of treble until I heard the MG6Pro. It has the least amount, quantitatively speaking, of treble produced. Many admire it for its most natural reproduction. When listening to live performances in a concert hall, by comparison, the vast majority of treble by headphones is definitely too bright by my standards. 

 

But there is a big difference between receiving a cymbal crash from 20 yards out and being the percussion musician himself.

 

So with your points in mind, cooper, is what is the most fun in headphone reproduction the most "audiophile?" Having done a head-to-head with Stax 009 and my Fostex TH900, there's no doubt that I would mostly prefer my heavily colored, more "inaccurate" sound of the Fostex for electronic dance music. It's more fun in an engaging way, not an accurate way. 

 

Having said all this, in A/B's with the ES5 and the Sig Pro, I find the ES5 midrange to be thicker and more lush than the SP, in an unnatural way. I think the SP mids are just simply more true, accurate and natural. In the same vein, the ES5 highs are probably more natural, but the SP highs are enveloping, shimmering, and engaging like the ES5 can never be. They border brightness, but are not. It's magic. Combine those natural mids, shimmering highs, and the rumble of dynamic best-in-the-business bass, and it is hard for the ES5 to directly compare. For me, I need to add some shimmer and rumble, and reduce the thickness of the mids to make it sound more neutral. With my EQ, I don't think I added a "v-curve" - I think I made it flatter. Look at the measurements. Even then, it's still more mid-centric than a truly neutral phone. 

 

The fact of the matter is BA high end is rolled off. It just is when compared to dynamic/ortho/stat cans - which many are definitely too bright. So what is right/correct? Do we compare all to the 009? What is considered audiophile? Fun? Accurate? 

 

I think most of it boils down to personal preference and what you like. For me, there's magic in the SP highs the ES5 will never have. And the ES5 has punch and a clean forwardness the SP will never have. 

 

Also, please don't confuse "dark and congested" to mean that the ES5 isn't super clean and tight - which it is. In soundstage and sparkle, BA's are rolled off. That's what I mean. 

 

You raise some good issues and questions. There is no easy definition of "audiophile". I am mindful though of the words of SCOTUS Justice Potter Stewart regarding hard-core pornography being hard to define but, as he said, "I know it when I see it".  biggrin.gif

 

At the fringes it is easy to reach conclusions. Apple earbuds probably fall shy of true audiophile to most educated ears. STAX SR-009 would conversely be acknowledged by most in that same group of people to be audiophile, whether ot not they are to a particular person's tastes. So it is not entirely subjective. I for one do not especially like the Sennheiser HD650 - I find it too dark and laid back - but I do think that it is audiophile, just not to my taste.

 

Sometimes it is very subjective. The Final Audio Design Piano Forte series is a case in point. Some audiophiles hate them and note that in terms of accurate frequency response, they significantly underperform the aforementioned Apple earbuds. This is factually true but to others like me they are amongst the finest headphones out there because they achieve a presentation that is high art... and that is a legitimate definition for audiophile.

 

Anyway I am certainly not arguing that fun equals audiophile (although in some cases it could). I do think that we can look to certain elements of quality to reach some universal conclusions: instrument separation, air within the sound stage, low distortion, accuracy, lushness, timbre, transparency, delicacy of presentation, boldness of presentation, various areas of frequency response... the list goes on and on. A great headphone may not be top of the list in all of these categories - indeed some are contradictory - but an audiophile headphone will achieve greatness in many of them and, most importantly, deliver a compelling experience in the whole. 

 

I am very much in the same camp as HPA, albeit with less breadth of experience. I have had the ES5 for a long time; I am serial # ES50011 and I believe that they may be pushing 2000 now. I have heard many headphones since and the ES5 continues to impress me as amongst the very best.

post #5285 of 5542
Quote:
Originally Posted by cooperpwc View Post

Well I quite disagree with the last few posts. A delicate rendering of treble is one of the keys to "audiophile" (if we must use this term)...

 

In retrospect, I should have said (and realy meant to say) "A delicate rendering of treble can be one of the keys to "audiophile" (if we must use this term)."  In other words, a lack of extreme treble extension at a flat FR does not necessarily detract from audiophile qualities. You have to look at the whole presentation.

 

That word really starts to grate, doesn't it? Pompous!  biggrin.gif 

post #5286 of 5542

Cooper, seems you have experience with the TG334. How does it compare to the ES5 to you?

post #5287 of 5542
I recall Cooper saying he felt they were more transparent than the ES5 but felt happy with what he had when he left. TG! Are definitely up there for most interesting phone to me. Shame about the ergonomics and cable though. The upcoming ASG-2 look to be superior in that respect
post #5288 of 5542
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post

Cooper, seems you have experience with the TG334. How does it compare to the ES5 to you?

 

I had the Fitear TG!334 for about two months. Sound quality wise, in terms of soundstaging (depth and width), realism and 3-D-ness as well as transparency, the TG!334 beats the ES5 hands down. It is big sounding and the timbre is fantastic. You can never imagine you are hearing that on an IEM. The frequency range in the top end and the bottom end also extend further than the ES5 giving a more balanced overall view into the sound. When I did a side by side comparison, the ES5 totally pales in comparison - dull, not-dynamic, lacking details and extension, small soundstage.

 

However, when I listened to each on separate occasions, I don't find the ES5 bad at all or lacking anything. It could be that our ears (or minds) remember certain obvious traits in the sound more vividly than the others when comparing two things side by side within a short span of time but it is no denying that the TG!334 is a technically far more competent earpiece than the ES5. With the TG!334 I spend more time admiring all its prowess and how it reproduces all the music so well rather than listening and enjoying the music itself. It was with the ES5 that I will stop those behavior and just truly let music seduce me.

 

In the end, I sold the TG!334 away due to fit issue as well as for the fact that the ES5 is still more enjoyable and engaging/seductive when listening to vocals. The ES5 is by far lighter and more comfortable to use. The custom version of the TG!334 might work but that will cost a bomb.

 

I use the ES5 also for monitoring purpose during live performances and it performs a better job than the TG!334. The TG!334 sounded too different from the other customs that other people wore so it is hard to use it as a tool to work with sound (since they aren'tcan't hear most of the things that I hear).

 

Till now, the ES5 has been with me through thick and thins and is still an ever reliant and trusty servant =)

post #5289 of 5542
Awesome response. Thanks for the insight.
post #5290 of 5542
Very nice impressions UE. And nice to know that there is still room for growth in this hobby should I choose to upgrade in the future. Now, if I sold off my ES5, Mad Dogs and the SM3 I could finance the TG!334. Hmmmm
post #5291 of 5542

Haha having room for growth in this hobby is not a good thing. Lol.

 

I would advise you to hold on to your ES5 and compare the TG!334 yourself for a while before making the final decision. Upon first comparison the TG!334 will sound better but give yourself some time. Then, you will be able to make a better discernment on which is better for you.

 

Let's see what cooper has to say on this. He might have a totally different impression from mine. :)

post #5292 of 5542

Yep, welcome to head-fi, sorry about your———nope, sold that as well to fund my next audio purchase.

post #5293 of 5542
Man all these talks make me want to order the ES5 right away, gotta wait for money to come in first.
post #5294 of 5542
Quote:
Originally Posted by uelover View Post

Haha having room for growth in this hobby is not a good thing. Lol.

I would advise you to hold on to your ES5 and compare the TG!334 yourself for a while before making the final decision. Upon first comparison the TG!334 will sound better but give yourself some time. Then, you will be able to make a better discernment on which is better for you.

Let's see what cooper has to say on this. He might have a totally different impression from mine. smily_headphones1.gif

Yes, a very wise assessment and I agree. I was originally going to PM you in regards to the 334 vs ES5 only to notice you sold it. Why I wondered? Was there some sort of defiency in the 334 vs the ES5? And yeah, I don't see myself immediately selling off the ES5 any time at all. There are times when I wonder to myself how much better it could get, but those questions are mostly allayed the second I listen to the ES5 as they just do it for me. I might grab a pair of the 334s if I see them in the FS just for the sake of auditioning them as ALO doesn't allow for returns. I'm sure someone's always itchy to pull the trigger on thr 334 anyhow. My only lingering concern is in the event that I end up loving them... Then I'd have a difficult decision on my hands Then there's the ASG-2 as well...:l
post #5295 of 5542
Quote:
Originally Posted by Idsynchrono_24 View Post

Yes, a very wise assessment and I agree. I was originally going to PM you in regards to the 334 vs ES5 only to notice you sold it. Why I wondered? Was there some sort of defiency in the 334 vs the ES5? And yeah, I don't see myself immediately selling off the ES5 any time at all. There are times when I wonder to myself how much better it could get, but those questions are mostly allayed the second I listen to the ES5 as they just do it for me. I might grab a pair of the 334s if I see them in the FS just for the sake of auditioning them as ALO doesn't allow for returns. I'm sure someone's always itchy to pull the trigger on thr 334 anyhow. My only lingering concern is in the event that I end up loving them... Then I'd have a difficult decision on my hands Then there's the ASG-2 as well...:l

 

Hmm I think that at this stage, it is better to first discover what type of sound do you like and thus, how to go about achieving that. Should it be the iem or should it be the other gears that has got to be tweaked in order to achieve that? If there is anything you wish the ES5 could have done better, what is it?

 

I felt that the TG334 is not a replacement for the ES5 - it is a complement. You will lose the lovely mids and intimate sound of the ES5 when you move over to the TG334. Similarly, you will lose the large and highly detailed/transparent sound of the TG334 when you move back to the ES5.

 

It is always difficult to approportion time for two or more iems since I won't foresee most people bringing out more than 1 top tier iems most of the time. Chances are that you will just make do with one and the rest slowly becomes irrelevant until certain occasions whereby you really wanted to listen to it again because it does so well in that particular song.

 

Choices are aplenty, do your research well =)


Edited by uelover - 12/3/12 at 7:00pm
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