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The All New Earsonics SM3 Appreciation, Discussion and Review Thread! - Page 92  

post #1366 of 1380
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post




Don't know if I had much or little credibility before my previous post and quite frankly I'm not here to gain any more (or less) of it...BUT my point was that in the specific case of the SM3s I don't think it comes down to personal preference as I'm convinced the sound (mostly) of this IEM is flawed. The other IEMs I mentioned earlier, which I find better SQ-wise than the SM3s, in my view don't have these flaws and, therefore, one person may prefer, for instance, the IE8 over the UM3X or the other way round - different flavours, so to speak. Not the case, I insist, with the SM3, unless you happen to enjoy food that is 'off'.


Everyone has their preferences. To suggest that an IEM is flawed in sound is like suggesting that McDonald's burgers are flawed and that Burger King burgers are better (and not flawed); you may think that, but there are millions that will think the opposite of you. Does that make them right? Not necessarily, but it doesn't make you right either.

 

By the way, I don't eat either burgers. New York Burger Co. ftw smily_headphones1.gif.

post #1367 of 1380

I find it hard to believe that the SM3 are flawed compared to the um3x.

post #1368 of 1380

Just got my SM3s today and finally I've been wow'd by an IEM, the only experience I've had with them before this was a pair of SCL4s and a loaner pair of se110s, both of which left me horribly underwhelmed.

 

I've been putting the SM3s through their paces with some choice metal albums and haven't run into a bump yet. It has no problem with the speed and instrument separation, bass is lean but sufficient, it hits just hard enough and most importantly doesn't feel like it's overpowering anything else. Guitars sound great, again, no problem with speedy solos. Soundstage is surprisingly good, obviously more constricted than a pair of over the ears, but worlds above anything I've ever stuck into my ear canals. If I had to nitpick on anything it'd be the upper ranges, pinch harmonics and drum crashes don't seem to sparkle or resonate as much as they could.

 

A/Bing them with my HD650s (which is a pretty unfair comparison) the SM3s fair slightly worse in some aspects, guitars don't carry the same visceral weightyness, bass quantity is obviously less, and highs don't sparkle as much, but the differences are minute.

 

I have pretty tiny ear canals, so I swapped out the stock double flanges for cut down Shure double flanges, which fit me better but don't isolate as well. The opening is also smaller, so that may be affecting the sound. I'll experiment with foam and olive tips as I get more familiar with the SM3s.

 

Overall, definitely a great buy, I love these things to death, I've been listening to them for hours now, which reminds me of another great aspect of them, they absolutely do not fatigue me at all. My last purchase was a pair of MS1i's which I can't keep over my ears for longer than half an hour without getting fatigued and feeling the onset of a headache. Once I got past that weird feeling of having tips jammed this far deep into my ear canals, I felt like I could leave the SM3s in forever and eventually forget they're even there.

 

EDIT: After more listening, I retract my bass comment, these things have plenty of it, almost too much? Almost. The bass seems a bit more emphasized when compared to my HD650s and MS1i's, and while it doesn't invade other ranges, it does seem like drums are more forward. Another thing I noticed is that vocals, ESPECIALLY female vocals, seem pushed back, almost attenuated. All of these impressions are with no EQing. I'm loving these things more and more as I identify more of their intricacies, they're very different from everything I've heard thus far.

 

EDIT2: Holy tips batman, I never thought they'd make such a huge difference, switching back to the stock double flanges I got a better seal, it balanced out the bass, it feels just right, it also brought the vocals forward. I foresee tons of experimenting to find the ones that suit my ears just right.


Edited by Shirukii - 10/12/10 at 11:56pm
post #1369 of 1380

Thank you for the recommendations. Previously I shunned IE8 and UM3x's for their comparably more bassy sound and the SE535s for their comparably more forward mids and lack of bass. I will read the reviews of CK100, DB-02 and FI-BA-SS to see if the descriptions persuade me. But I guess, with every IEM I will need to equalize the sound to my liking, only the way I do it will change. Or is "the less one needs to equalize, the better the IEM" the axiom of IEM quality? I know some people tend to listen to their music with "EQ off" setting -and I was, or rather, had to be one of them, too, because my Zune 120 has no EQ- but does needig to equalize make an IEM less suitable for one, I'm really undecided on that. With Foobar's EQ I can attune my SM3 to sound just like I would like it to, and it does perform stunningly well; I am hoping to be able to reach the same satisfaction level with the EQ of Rockbox I will install on the IPod 5.5 I will soon get. But could I tweak for instance the SE535 (by increasing the bass and decreasing the midrange) to a similar level of satisfaction is the question here. ? 


Edited by meurglys0 - 10/12/10 at 11:42pm
post #1370 of 1380

The beauty of the SM3. Brain burn-in. You just need a little time with them to realize how incredible the sound they produce really is. At first, it sounded bad, but after some time with the, you'll hear the that everything sounds just right, natural, perfect. Satisfaction guaranteed. smily_headphones1.gif

post #1371 of 1380
Quote:
Originally Posted by meurglys0 View Post

Thank you for the recommendations. Previously I shunned IE8 and UM3x's for their comparably more bassy sound and the SE535s for their comparably more forward mids and lack of bass. I will read the reviews of CK100, DB-02 and FI-BA-SS to see if the descriptions persuade me. But I guess, with every IEM I will need to equalize the sound to my liking, only the way I do it will change. Or is "the less one needs to equalize, the better the IEM" the axiom of IEM quality? I know some people tend to listen to their music with "EQ off" setting -and I was, or rather, had to be one of them, too, because my Zune 120 has no EQ- but does needig to equalize make an IEM less suitable for one, I'm really undecided on that. With Foobar's EQ I can attune my SM3 to sound just like I would like it to, and it does perform stunningly well; I am hoping to be able to reach the same satisfaction level with the EQ of Rockbox I will install on the IPod 5.5 I will soon get. But could I tweak for instance the SE535 (by increasing the bass and decreasing the midrange) to a similar level of satisfaction is the question here. ? 


A couple of observations:

1) The UM3X is NOT considered a bassy IEM (unless compared with 'bass-light' IEMs such as the SE535, CK10, Ety ER-4P), so don't know where you got that idea. The UM3X is considered rather flat, actually, with very good bass. I'd say bass quantity is similar to that of the SM3 but the UM3X bass sounds cleaner & clearer, more controlled and with better impact and extension. The IE8 is generally considered a bassy IEM.

2) I personally found I needed to EQ the SE535 less than the SM3 in order to get the SQ I wanted. I had to EQ the SM3 A LOT to get close - but never quite got there - to the sound I consider to be right.

3) I have a very good sounding MP3 player, the Sony X1061, which has an excellent five-band EQ. I don't EQ 99.8% of my music library with my ES3X, UM3X & CK100.

4) I was 'lucky' to be able to compare the SE535, SM3 & UM3X directly (had all 3 at the same time at one point). The UM3X & CK100 are the best universals I've heard.

post #1372 of 1380

How long did you have the SM3 music_?

post #1373 of 1380

^^ 14 days and I did try the Sensorcom tips (sentt by Bennyboy71).


Edited by music_4321 - 10/13/10 at 1:13am
post #1374 of 1380

Right, here's the score with me and the SM3:

 

I decided to sell mine for a number of reasons. 

 

Firstly, I felt they were too delicate at the price to allow me to properly relax and enjoy my music when out and about.  Approx a month after I got them, one of the nozzles snapped off from the housing and I had to send it back to Handheld Audio, who then sent it to Earsonics, who repaired it and returned it directly to me. Turnaround time about 10 days or so, so nothing major, but it did put a worry in my mind that I would have to be extra careful with them.  And given that I'm left-handed, blonde and prone to smashing everything that comes within a 12 mile blast radius of my clumsy mitts, that meant I started to actually resent the SM3s for being so plasticky and fragile looking. And that apprehension meant I wasn't properly able to chill out and just whack the things in my pocket, my bag, my ears, like I wanted to and get on with the business of loving the noise coming out my J3.

 

Secondly, that bloody J3 had so many options for sound tweaking, I was forever messing around with that EQ fruit machine trying to hit the jackpot with the SM3s and as a consequence I was losing sight of the wood for the trees.  My mind started tying itself in knots.  Now, that obviously raises the question of whether that indicates the SM3s are flawed or not. On reflection, I don't think thats the case - its more a comment about the Cowon's wide range of EQ possibilities than anything. The reason I say this is that just before I sold them, I finally settled on a very small upper mids and treble boost as the best of all worlds. Every other frequency band flat, all other mad scientist levers set to off.  That leads me to believe the technical signature of the SM3 is in no way flawed significantly, just that clarity-wise it can be nudged a little by upping those higher registers. Big deal. That might be a problem of course if you are lumbered with a crApple device, given their shitetastic eq settings, but hey, you're an idiot for having one and don't deserve to be happy ever.

 

That last sentence is a joke.

 

Thirdly, I walk a lot and am getting older and spreading wider with each minute that passes and therefore have to walk a lot more just to stand still.  That means I need an iem that stays put in my ears and is comfortable and which I can just fire and forget, plug'n'play, insert and ignore. The SM3s -  even with the Sensorcom tips - fitted me snugly but still felt too awkward for me to truly let me relax and get on with the business of putting one foot in front of the other (if you knew me, you'd know how herculean a task that is).  They can't really be worn down without the tips wriggling in the ear canal, and over the ear is annoying for me when I have to stop in shops or speak to people, what with having to be so careful and babying them. As all of my previous iems I'd enjoyed had been designed to be inserted and used cable down, I guess ultimately I'm just a worn down kind of guy. Insert your own joke here.

 

Fourthly, a number of reviews and threads started popping up recently about the Ety ER4s, the MC3s, HF5s etc, and I began to think back to the ER4Ps I used to own, and how much I liked them at the time and whether they would sound the same to me now I was further down the head-fi road and had a new pmp (having cut that crApple umbilical cord earlier in the year). That monkey on my back started itching and howling, slowly but surely, and I knew I had to deal with it.

 

So deal with it I did; I sold my SM3s to Mark for a bargain price, bought the HF5s and pocketed some healthy change. Seemed like a win-win situation, especially given the extra clarity the HF5s offer over the SM3s (not that there is anything at all unclear about the latter, but I guess my own 'personal preference' is for clarity of sound above all else), not to mention the increased comfort, isolation and build quality for a quarter of the price of the Earsonics. I'm in no way saying - please don't misinterpret me here - that the SM3s are flawed. I don't design or build iems, or run a company doing those two things, so I have no way of knowing what's possible given Earsonic's resources and for what cost. Etymotic have been going for longer and have a different modus operandi, clearly. Of course, given a blank sheet of paper, I'd say in a perfect world I'd like a pair of iems that had the build and clarity of the HF5 and the three dimensionality of the SM3s. And cost twenty pence.  But hey, I'd also like to be invisible and have x-ray vision.  Some things are achievable and others you have to compromise on. For me, the HF5s represent that ideal compromise. For others, the SM3s come closest to their day dreams. You can't write formulas or measure these things with any degree of intelligence whatsoever, despite what you might think. Throw a human into the mix and you get such a weird cake it makes a nonsense of any recipe.

 

Now, here's the sting in the tail: when Mark got the SM3s from me, he pm'd me to say there was something wrong with the left earpiece, that the balance was off, in favour of the right channel. So he sent them back to me, I sent them to Handheld Audio, they sent them to Franck, he repaired and sent them back to me.  Or did he? (cue the suspenseful music).   When I sent the newly received pair back to Mark, guess what? Yep, same comment - something was wrong with balance. Could it be his ears, or was Franck pulling a fast one? Guess we'll find out - Mark's returning them to me this week and has decided they're not for him so once more I will be the owner of a pair of SM3s. Maybe they're fine and Mark's just wired strangely, maybe they're not and I'll have to send them back for the third time.

 

Watch this space.  And continue scratching your backside while doing goldfish impressions with your mouth.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post



 


You two have now convinced me to also cast my vote for Bennyboy71, a born-again-Headfier, a man who finally saw the light (surely heard good sound?) at the end of the tunnel (surely end of the nozzle?), got rid of his £300 SM3s and got the £72 Etymotic HF5.

 

Yes, Bennyboy71 hears his HF5s as stellar, and clearly better than the SM3s! -- How very silly of me to think all along that precisely ericp10 & cn11 would vote and campaign for music_4321. Now I understand why they didn't.


Edited by Bennyboy71 - 10/13/10 at 2:55am
post #1375 of 1380

^^ A minor correction, Benny:

 

The SM3s cost 3 times as much now, but when you purchased your set, you paid 4 times as much (£72 vs £300!)

 

Interesting that Mark has said absolutely nothing about the SM3s; I suspected - as I remember very well when you sold them to him - that he chose not to say anything negative a bout them, or perhaps he was just waiting for the 'fixed' SM3 to get back to him? Funny thing is that the guy who bought my SM3s later told me he found them as 'wrong' sounding as I'd stated all along, yet he never posted here.

 

As is common on these type of threads, anyone who criticises the sound is either wrong, hasn't tried this or that tip, is labeled a 'troll', told to go away, and so on. But if negative comments are along the lines of "the distance between the Y split and housings is too short" then that's acceptable, but only just, as there's the usual posters who will still say "they're perfect, wouldn't change a thing".

 

There have been a number of people who've been less than impressed with the SM3's SQ, but they don't say so anymore and certainly the hype has drastically gone down. I myself 'came back' to this thread in response to Joe's assertion that the only step up was customs.

 

I insist that in my view there is something wrong with the SM3's SQ, ie it really wasn't intended to sound the way it does.

post #1376 of 1380

Music Bird: A minor correction to your minor correction -  Handheld Audio still charge £299 for the SM3s.  Ordering directly from Earsonics costs €320 with delivery to UK, which = £282.24 at todays rate.  So pretty much 4 times the cost of the HF5s.

 

As for Mark not saying anything - he hadn't paid me and was waiting for a 'fixed' pair before deciding whether to keep them. He was unhappy with the allegedly repaired pair I sent him last week, so they've reverted back to me. Or at least they will when I get them tomorrow. I don't want to comment on whether he's correct or not until they're in my ears, cos for Mark to suggest there's something wrong with the left drivers and that Earsonics did nothing to rectify that issue is pretty damning and I don't want to back that up without evidence. 

 

I suspect the only way I may be able to truly test the efficacy of my pair may be to send them to a head-fier in the UK who already owns the SM3 and can compare with theirs.  Anyone want to volunteer for the job?

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post

^^ A minor correction, Benny:

 

The SM3s cost 3 times as much now, but when you purchased your set, you paid 4 times as much (£72 vs £300!)

 

Interesting that Mark has said absolutely nothing about the SM3s; I suspected - as I remember very well when you sold them to him - that he chose not to say anything negative a bout them, or perhaps he was just waiting for the 'fixed' SM3 to get back to him? Funny thing is that the guy who bought my SM3s later told me he found them as 'wrong' sounding as I'd stated all along, yet he never posted here.

 

As is common on these type of threads, anyone who criticises the sound is either wrong, hasn't tried this or that tip, is labeled a 'troll', told to go away, and so on. But if negative comments are along the lines of "the distance between the Y split and housings is too short" then that's acceptable, but only just, as there's the usual posters who will still say "they're perfect, wouldn't change a thing".

 

There have been a number of people who've been less than impressed with the SM3's SQ, but they don't say so anymore and certainly the hype has drastically gone down. I myself 'came back' to this thread in response to Joe's assertion that the only step up was customs.

 

I insist that in my view there is something wrong with the SM3's SQ, ie it really wasn't intended to sound the way it does.

post #1377 of 1380
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericp10 View Post





X2 ....

 

Chris, how do you love that Lenny Kravitz song "Fly Away" on the SM3?? I love that song on the SM3. The music and lyrics are so crisp and clear on the SM3. If you haven't heard it you must listen soon. Great song that "Fly Away" is. 


Eric-

You're correct, it sounds amazing. I gave it a listen late last night while doing some work at home. I especially liked how you could hear the studio atmosphere and space enveloping the drums. Very cool stuff. The SM3's sure do handle vocals great too. All along since I've owned them I've been picking up on lyrics which I've never been able to understand simply because they convey human voice with so much detail. 

post #1378 of 1380

Quote:
Originally Posted by cn11 View Post

Eric-

You're correct, it sounds amazing. I gave it a listen late last night while doing some work at home. I especially liked how you could hear the studio atmosphere and space enveloping the drums. Very cool stuff. The SM3's sure do handle vocals great too. All along since I've owned them I've been picking up on lyrics which I've never been able to understand simply because they convey human voice with so much detail. 


I agree that I am able to make out details in both the music and vocals with the SM3 I was not able to with other IEMs I had heard at the time.  This includes understanding some lyrics, but also being able to comprehend what the actual instrument (or item used to make a sound) was.  I believe it is due to the accurate 3D space of the presentation.  While other IEMs are good at various traits, the actual space proportions seemed off when compared with the SM3 to me.  Or, with the few that did get it right, it was on a much smaller, more compressed scale, not giving instruments the space they actually have.  Now, comparing the SM3 with the LCD-2, they still lack ultimately in comparison, but I would hope they would for the price and design differences!

 

But the bottom line is the SM3 is an excellent choice in the price range and will give you things no other IEM I have heard in the price or below can.

post #1379 of 1380

not commented for 2 reasons, 1 been busy and not on much

 

2 i had a problem with them, so they went to france, earsonics say they are fine my ears say otherwise but since till i hear another pair i cannot catagoricaly say they are buggered and its not that im just having a really odd fit issue.  so i have said nothing, of course if anyone else want to send me a pair so that i can confirm if it was that pair or the fit feel free to pm me. 

post #1380 of 1380

I really thought that Fly Away song was for someone. smily_headphones1.gif Anyway, I'm excited to get my Sensorcoms and Fuze LOD. Maybe there will be more improvements.

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