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[Review] Impressions of the Final Audio Design FI-BA-SS versus the SM3, FX700 and e-Q7 - Page 8

post #106 of 268
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

That's a pretty bold statement to be making. I don't know anyone on head-fi that hears anything similar to Pianist :P

 

Yeah, I couldn't believe it either. I thought it was impossible. In fact I pity the guy :P

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

I concluded a long time ago that Pianist hears quite differently than many people on many earphones :P His opinions on headphones are much more in line with what I'm hearing.

post #107 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by k3oxkjo View Post


Well, I have FI-BA-SB and ER4S and the FAD's are significantly better, in my view. I haven't heard the FI-BA-SS, but the consensus is that they are better than the SB's...

 

The ER4S are OK, but not in the league of some of the better IEM's (though their specific sound may appeal to many). I should have a pair of the EX-1000 coming, so may post some more impressions of the FAD's and Sony's as I feel I have their measure.

 

Kevin


Can you explain why?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by takoyaki7 View Post

I haven't listened to the ER4, but I owned the HF5 and they aren't even remotely close to the FI-BA-SS

  In fact, I recently picked up the Westone 4, and though I am enjoying them, they don't hold a candle to the FADs in terms of clarity and visceral experience.

  I was hoping to find a cheaper keeper that might justify me selling the FI-BA-SS but I might actually have to put my W4 up for sale soon.

  The FI-BA-SS aren't perfect, they are brutally exposing of harsh sources and are pretty hot, but still definitely the best IEMs I have ever heard!

Their clarity and rawness is unmatched IMHO

 

Sounds like FI-BA-SS are pretty colored. ER4S is quite neutral on the other hand. I think ER4S is very clear. I don't see how clarity can get much better than that. What else do the FI-BA-SS does better than ER4S in your opinion? Also, aren't the W4s with 4 drivers supposed to be better than a single driver FI-BA-SS? I mean they use very similar armature drivers and the Westones got 4 of them, while the FADs got only one. Those who believe in the potential of multi drivers would argue that if the W4 is properly designed it will beat any single driver BA out there. In fact, it should run circles around any single driver BA, at least in theory.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by james444 View Post

 

Yeah, I couldn't believe it either. I thought it was impossible. In fact I pity the guy :P

 

 

Yeah, that's right James, people like me are insane. We are deaf, but we think we still think we can evaluate sound quality. lol

post #108 of 268
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by k3oxkjo View Post

Well, I have FI-BA-SB and ER4S and the FAD's are significantly better, in my view. I haven't heard the FI-BA-SS, but the consensus is that they are better than the SB's...

 

The ER4S are OK, but not in the league of some of the better IEM's (though their specific sound may appeal to many). I should have a pair of the EX-1000 coming, so may post some more impressions of the FAD's and Sony's as I feel I have their measure.

 

Kevin


I'm looking forward to your take on the EX1000 vs. FAD SB's...

post #109 of 268
The FADs are vented, with their "balancing air movement" which really does seem to work as they they have more bass than any double, and even some triple BAs that I've ever heard.

As for their clarity, they are the least veiled IEM I have ever heard by a pretty good margin. This can also be a negative at times, because their rawness makes them quite source and song quality dependent.

And yes, as shocking as it may seem, I stiill prefer the single driver FI-BA-SS to my W4! I am a treble guy, and in that department FAD can't be beat!
post #110 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by takoyaki7 View Post

The FADs are vented, with their "balancing air movement" which really does seem to work as they they have more bass than any double, and even some triple BAs that I've ever heard.

As for their clarity, they are the least veiled IEM I have ever heard by a pretty good margin. This can also be a negative at times, because their rawness makes them quite source and song quality dependent.

And yes, as shocking as it may seem, I stiill prefer the single driver FI-BA-SS to my W4! I am a treble guy, and in that department FAD can't be beat!

 

So the FADs are bass heavy IEMs?

post #111 of 268
Thread Starter 

Tiny as they are, they can belch out a surprising amount of bass, but its texture is close to the e-Q7's and they have more extended and forward treble than these, so overall they're far from being bass heavy.

post #112 of 268

Ok, I just briefly looked over your review again James. If these FADs can indeed outperform the SM3, then they can also outperform the ER4. But to really find out the potential of these IEMs, you will obviously need much more serious sources than regular DAPs. I think it's your sources, not your ears that do not allow you to hear the differences between these IEMs so easily. At least according to nc8000, a balanced ER4P out of a Protector amp (or whatever it's called lol) is ~80% of JH13. If the FADs can beat the ER4, then they may well be a good alternative to the JH13 for those who prefer the ease of universal fit. I really wish I had the money to try these out. I am actually very interested in them. Maybe someday...

post #113 of 268

Well what source do you have then Pianist?

post #114 of 268
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post

If these FADs can indeed outperform the SM3...


Well, that's my personal opinion and pretty dependend on what you value or dislike in a phone. Joker has just posted his own review of the FADs and rated them below the SM3 - and even though I concur largely with his description of both IEMs, my weighting is obviously different because I'd take the BA-SS over the SM3 without missing a beat.

post #115 of 268

I don't feel that the FI-BA-SS outperform the SM3 or e-Q5/7 in any way, but that's just another opinion. They all do their thing slightly different - and very well, of course.

post #116 of 268



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post


Can you explain why?

 

 

Sounds like FI-BA-SS are pretty colored. ER4S is quite neutral on the other hand. I think ER4S is very clear. I don't see how clarity can get much better than that. What else do the FI-BA-SS does better than ER4S in your opinion? Also, aren't the W4s with 4 drivers supposed to be better than a single driver FI-BA-SS? I mean they use very similar armature drivers and the Westones got 4 of them, while the FADs got only one. Those who believe in the potential of multi drivers would argue that if the W4 is properly designed it will beat any single driver BA out there. In fact, it should run circles around any single driver BA, at least in theory.

 

 

Yeah, that's right James, people like me are insane. We are deaf, but we think we still think we can evaluate sound quality. lol


OK. The ER4S has a subdued bass and midbass (and I am not a "basshead") and a somewhat insistant treble. It's apparent clarity is due to this as the lack of bass focuses attention on the mid/treble range (The Sennheiser IE-8 has the opposite problem I believe, it's very generous bass and midbass masks the midrange somewhat, making it perceived to be less clear and detailed). There also seems to be a bit of intermodulation especially as the music becomes louder that tends to intrude on low level detail and limit dynamics. The "headstage" is limited to the area between the ears (which some people do prefer).

 

On the other hand, the FI-BA-SS has a better balanced bass to the midrange. The treble is still a bit hotter than I would prefer, but is very clean and the dynamic envelope is somewhat wider than the ER4S (but not in the class of the FI-DC-1601SS). Low level information is there to be heard in the mix without the masking effect of intermodulation artifacts. The headstage extends outside the ears, better than the ER4S, but again, not in the class of the FI-DC-1601SS. The FI-BA-SS is better balanced tonally than the FI-DC-1601SS, however (that IEM's Achilles heel).

 

The expression "colored" to indicate "not neutral" (whatever neutral is, LOL) is an unfortunate choice to me. Live music has "color" in the comparitive sense of the wide spectrum of visual colors and color saturation to the wide spectrum of musical instrumental color and saturation. The ER4S has a tendency towards sounding gray or washed out. It's clarity, it seems to me, is more like a line drawing's precision but monochromality rather than a color photograph's less sharp edges but greater detail.

 

Personally, I prefer the FAD's, the Ortofon e-Q7 and the CK-10 presentation to the ER4S.

post #117 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by k3oxkjo View Post

 

The expression "colored" to indicate "not neutral" (whatever neutral is, LOL) is an unfortunate choice to me. Live music has "color" in the comparitive sense of the wide spectrum of visual colors and color saturation to the wide spectrum of musical instrumental color and saturation. The ER4S has a tendency towards sounding gray or washed out. It's clarity, it seems to me, is more like a line drawing's precision but monochromality rather than a color photograph's less sharp edges but greater detail.

 


Agreed on your comments.  This defines a typical BA signature you seem to describe.  The analogy I tend to think of is comparing a painting versus a sculpture.  I need some form of Z-axis to my music.  X and Y just isn't enough.  Hopefully I'm not misrepresenting your illustration.  

 

post #118 of 268

I read that with the right amp (doesn't have to be expensive), the ER4 can also do 3D soundstage.

post #119 of 268
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt View Post

I don't feel that the FI-BA-SS outperform the SM3 or e-Q5/7 in any way, but that's just another opinion. They all do their thing slightly different - and very well, of course.

 

Well, perhaps "outperform" was a bad choice of words in regard to the SM3 (wasn't mine btw). Like I said in my review, I rate both at the highest level of detail resolution and technical refinement I've ever heard in IEMs. But you know my personal take on the SM3s, their lower mids were just too thick and the treble too shy for my taste, things just didn't sound right to my ears - sorry I can't help it. Of course I know that you think otherwise and you're not alone to say the least. I just happen to respectfully prefer the FAD's sound signature by quite a wide margin.

 

As for the e-Q5/7, IMO the term "outperform" is spot-on, even though I personally like both Ortofon's sound signatures better than the SM3's. But you just need to A/B a single beat on a triangle, cymbal or glockenspiel to notice that the FADs are in a different league. The Ortofons are excellent IEMs, but they sound simplistic in comparison to the FI-BA-SS.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by k3oxkjo View Post

The expression "colored" to indicate "not neutral" (whatever neutral is, LOL) is an unfortunate choice to me. Live music has "color" in the comparitive sense of the wide spectrum of visual colors and color saturation to the wide spectrum of musical instrumental color and saturation. The ER4S has a tendency towards sounding gray or washed out. It's clarity, it seems to me, is more like a line drawing's precision but monochromality rather than a color photograph's less sharp edges but greater detail.

 

Personally, I prefer the FAD's, the Ortofon e-Q7 and the CK-10 presentation to the ER4S.

 

Thanks k3oxkjo, very interesting and vivid illustration! Makes me think that I can live without trying the ER4S.

post #120 of 268

Curious, I tried the e-Q7 once and found it too mids centric and extremely lacking in bass extension, finding that it rolls off too rapidly post the 40Hz mark or something, and that it sounded very nasal.

 

Pretty much certain that the fitting was the fault though, but I didn't have any other tips to try them with when previously auditioning them.

Which tips would you guys recommend to go with the Ortofons, since I'm definitely very interested in what they can sound like =)

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