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What's next after PK1, another earbud (TM5 or OK1 or MX980) or a new IEM (DBA-02, RE0, IE8)?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

 

I'm afraid my PK1 would die anytime soon because of split wire. Appreciate if anybody here who have owned/used/heard the PK1 and owned/used/heard one of these prospects. What I want from my PK1 is the big full sound it has and the rumbling, undistorted bass accompanied with the clear mids and non-fatiguing treble. I just wish it would not be as "in-the-face" sounding as possible but it is tolerable. I want an earphone with a spectacular soundstaging and imaging, big sounding bass and very clear mids and highs not really detailed but musical. I want something that is all-rounder as I listen to various music genres.

 

Hope anyone from here could help me. My choices above may have different sound signature as opposed to what I've described here but those are just my current options as far as my reading here at head-fi is concerned. Suggestions are all welcome.

 

The TM5 is very controversial as not many reviews are available but Kostalex is praising it very highly saying it has the best bass among the earbuds he tried.

 

I like the OK1 as most people say it's a step up from PK1 but my concerned is on the bass dept which might be a bit of shy and not as big as the PK1 is.

 

The MX980 is the latest among the earbuds listed above. Few reviews state that it's sound is like that of the IE8. I know it is good because it's Sennheiser but never really heard a high-end Senns yet (only MX500 that is very long ago).

 

I want earbuds because they are very on-the-go and comfortable to use. Plus not a lot of maintenance to keep. I had a PFE before but sold it because of the cable stiffening problem plus handling is not so good and convenient for me.

 

Next stop is to go to the IEM route.

 

I have been eyeing the RE0 for quite sometimes because of the raved reviews here and there and also because it's cheap. Wonder if it has the same sound with the Yuins as they are all made in China.

 

Don't know if one could call it a hype but the DBA-02 is getting a lot of love here at head-fi lately. It's cheaper than all of those above earbuds but don't know if shipping to my country (Philippines) would be easy. I guess it has a different sound sig compared to PK1 but if it's good or better overall then why not.

 

Lastly, the IE8 is what they call the "soundstage king". The reasons I'm turning away from it is the fit which might not be good for my average-sized ears, shipping cost and the price of course. Buying it new is $350 at minimum. Not sure if I want to invest to an earphone at that price. But maybe who knows. Here at head-fi, wallet doesn't matter.

 

Still I have a budget, $1-$200. Appreciate all your inputs.

 

Cheers,

Jeff

 

post #2 of 14

mx980 is in another league compared to tm5 and ok1

a step up

post #3 of 14

I haven't heard the MX980, but there is not a single Senn head or earphone that I have heard that I woudl describe as "in your face."  So the Mx980 could be just laid back enough for you.

post #4 of 14

Sennheiser MX980, IE8, Radius DDM and FX700..........

post #5 of 14

Curious about the MX980, but I feel the "another league" aspect is really dependent upon what sound characteristics you prefer.  I've owned the OK1 for a while and have owned a slew of top tier IEMs.  I've sold off a lot of IEMs and still own the OK1.  I could say the OK1 isn't in the best light right out of the box.  It needs a powerful amp and benefits a bit from EQing to make it something outstanding.  I know the Blox TM5 has high praise, and the MX980 has gained popularity though.  These are two products I'd love to try out and may likely do so in the not too far future.  It's just that the OK1 doesn't do enough wrong to simply be outclassed by a sizable margin.  Off low wattage and no EQing, I could venture to guess both the TM5 and MX980 are better balanced from the start, maybe even a bit bassy, definitely making it more likable for many.

 

I wish I could call the IE8 a sound stage king, but it is not.  Yes the sound stage is big.  You are perceptively far away from the music.  Beyond that, there are things it can't do, like create closeness/proximity in sound, layering because everything near or far is just far, and locational cues aren't as pinpoint as some earphones.  It is a unique product that offers something most others don't.  The sense of size and distance makes it king for a lot of people, but that doesn't make it correct either.  I would say earphones like the ER4 or Custom 3 are significantly better and do more...correctly.

 

I see the Custom 3 as one of the better bang for the buck products out there.  The drivers Klipsch chose for it are quite good and do a lot of things right.  The way they set up the crossover makes a slight gap in the midrange to emphasize bass and treble some.  Midrange doesn't really suffer noticeably, but a narrow bump in the mids can bring that out if you seek more or at least a more seamless blending through the midrange between the bass and treble.  It's not a big deal, but it's there.  For a BA driver earphone the notes are unusually thick and textured for less of a BA kind of sound.  The frequency response is really well balanced, sound stage is awesome, and because it is a BA driver earphone, it's actually quite detailed and clean despite having a heartier note.  Notes also have good dynamic range and energy.  It's just a good earphone in terms of sound.  Physically, it's not super.  The design is a little on the cheap side and the cord choice is half stupid.  It's saving grace is that the earphone and the cord are very light and effectively forgetable to the listener, plus the cord has minimal microphonics.  I would suggest picking up some Shure foam ("Olive") tips as a great option for comfort, fit, and seal.  The Custom 3 can be had on eBay for as low as $99 new, apparently $107 on Amazon too.  This is Klipsch's best IEM even though they discontinued it, better than the X10 (their words).  I don't think many looked at it though, and sales probably weren't enough to justify producing them.  The Custom 1 and Custom 2 are comparatively pretty crappy.  I'm sure reviews of those were off-putting, and unless someone was willing to give the Custom 3 a shot in poor company, most were probably expecting something like the Custom 1 and 2 in terms of sound quality.  It's funny how they became popular only after they were discontinued.  I'd love to see Klipsch remake them to a higher quality and resell them.  They flopped on the physical aspects but the chosen drivers and implementation are very good.

post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post

Curious about the MX980, but I feel the "another league" aspect is really dependent upon what sound characteristics you prefer.  I've owned the OK1 for a while and have owned a slew of top tier IEMs.  I've sold off a lot of IEMs and still own the OK1.  I could say the OK1 isn't in the best light right out of the box.  It needs a powerful amp and benefits a bit from EQing to make it something outstanding.  I know the Blox TM5 has high praise, and the MX980 has gained popularity though.  These are two products I'd love to try out and may likely do so in the not too far future.  It's just that the OK1 doesn't do enough wrong to simply be outclassed by a sizable margin.  Off low wattage and no EQing, I could venture to guess both the TM5 and MX980 are better balanced from the start, maybe even a bit bassy, definitely making it more likable for many.

 

I wish I could call the IE8 a sound stage king, but it is not.  Yes the sound stage is big.  You are perceptively far away from the music.  Beyond that, there are things it can't do, like create closeness/proximity in sound, layering because everything near or far is just far, and locational cues aren't as pinpoint as some earphones.  It is a unique product that offers something most others don't.  The sense of size and distance makes it king for a lot of people, but that doesn't make it correct either.  I would say earphones like the ER4 or Custom 3 are significantly better and do more...correctly.

 

I see the Custom 3 as one of the better bang for the buck products out there.  The drivers Klipsch chose for it are quite good and do a lot of things right.  The way they set up the crossover makes a slight gap in the midrange to emphasize bass and treble some.  Midrange doesn't really suffer noticeably, but a narrow bump in the mids can bring that out if you seek more or at least a more seamless blending through the midrange between the bass and treble.  It's not a big deal, but it's there.  For a BA driver earphone the notes are unusually thick and textured for less of a BA kind of sound.  The frequency response is really well balanced, sound stage is awesome, and because it is a BA driver earphone, it's actually quite detailed and clean despite having a heartier note.  Notes also have good dynamic range and energy.  It's just a good earphone in terms of sound.  Physically, it's not super.  The design is a little on the cheap side and the cord choice is half stupid.  It's saving grace is that the earphone and the cord are very light and effectively forgetable to the listener, plus the cord has minimal microphonics.  I would suggest picking up some Shure foam ("Olive") tips as a great option for comfort, fit, and seal.  The Custom 3 can be had on eBay for as low as $99 new, apparently $107 on Amazon too.  This is Klipsch's best IEM even though they discontinued it, better than the X10 (their words).  I don't think many looked at it though, and sales probably weren't enough to justify producing them.  The Custom 1 and Custom 2 are comparatively pretty crappy.  I'm sure reviews of those were off-putting, and unless someone was willing to give the Custom 3 a shot in poor company, most were probably expecting something like the Custom 1 and 2 in terms of sound quality.  It's funny how they became popular only after they were discontinued.  I'd love to see Klipsch remake them to a higher quality and resell them.  They flopped on the physical aspects but the chosen drivers and implementation are very good.

 

my ears tell me that 980 is way better than ok1 and tm5 because of the airiness,soundstage, and the micro details this little thing pumps out

its like i can easily get lost with any kind of music with the senns

the bass is also of a higher quality compared to both yuin and blox

in short i would rank 980 as the king of earbuds in production as of the moment

taking into consideration you dont include discontinued models like sony e484, aiwa v99, d9, etc

i aint exaggerating

post #7 of 14

@mvw2

 

Yeah, I agree with your sentiments about the Custom 3. Got them for around $170ish in my country around two years ago, they sounded awesome, even better than the Shure SE530 IMO that was selling for a ridiculous almost 3x the price of the C3. I eventually had to sell them because the cable failed on me (Klipsch did replace my unit with a BNIB one).

 

@jrazmar

 

I've not heard any of those earbuds that you listed, but you should cross out the RE0 from your list - they're very neutral in signature and will not have the big bass you want. The IE8 is a fine choice, I personally had no problems with the fit on the stock medium tips back when I owned them. Massive headstage, smooth and liquid mids with deep bass.

 

Incidentally, I've pre-ordered the DBA-02 from treoo.com (based in Singapore), so I don't think it's any problem to have them shipped here because they offer you the option of using DHL as a courier, which has a local office.

post #8 of 14

Curious.  It's interesting that you say some of that because the OK1 isn't exactly lacking in micro details.  I could agree on bass.  It is the one shortcoming I see with the OK1.  The notes end up a touch thin in body and the quality of sound on the very bottom end isn't great at volume.  EQing does go a long way though.  I can say that I wouldn't call the OK1 airy.  The presentation is...different.

 

I don't suppose you'd let me borrow your pair? :p  I have qualms about plopping down $200 on something that could very likely be more different than absolutely better just to demo them and then have a 50% chance of turning right around and selling them.  It's kind of why I don't want to jump on the SE535 or SM3 just because they're new "great" things.  A little A/B session between the MX980 and OK1 would be interesting, more interesting A/B/Cing with the TM5 too.  I just have a hard time expecting better when something doesn't do enough wrong to be overshadowed by a great margin.  Are the MX980 and TM5 different flavors of sound?  Heck yeah, but different doesn't translate to better.  Better in my eyes is less flawed, more realistic, more true to life, and from my limited spectrum of products I've used so far, the OK1 is sitting at a pretty good point.  .

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post

Curious.  It's interesting that you say some of that because the OK1 isn't exactly lacking in micro details.  I could agree on bass.  It is the one shortcoming I see with the OK1.  The notes end up a touch thin in body and the quality of sound on the very bottom end isn't great at volume.  EQing does go a long way though.  I can say that I wouldn't call the OK1 airy.  The presentation is...different.

 

I don't suppose you'd let me borrow your pair? :p  I have qualms about plopping down $200 on something that could very likely be more different than absolutely better just to demo them and then have a 50% chance of turning right around and selling them.  It's kind of why I don't want to jump on the SE535 or SM3 just because they're new "great" things.  A little A/B session between the MX980 and OK1 would be interesting, more interesting A/B/Cing with the TM5 too.  I just have a hard time expecting better when something doesn't do enough wrong to be overshadowed by a great margin.  Are the MX980 and TM5 different flavors of sound?  Heck yeah, but different doesn't translate to better.  Better in my eyes is less flawed, more realistic, more true to life, and from my limited spectrum of products I've used so far, the OK1 is sitting at a pretty good point.  .


lend you my pair? thats not possible cause im from the philippines

you might be the lucky guy who gets this when my membership on headfi reaches 1 year 

im planning what james444 is doing, to give away some stuff

the 3 phrases indicated in bold is exactly what the 980 is

you just feel good when you listen to it

best part is, the sq increases with better sources and amps

the difference when amped is night and day


Edited by 2rooi123 - 8/19/10 at 10:38pm
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thank you all guys for your responses. I didn't expect this thread would get your attention.

 

2rooi123 - Saying mx980 is in another league compared to TM5 and OK1 is a very strong statement specially that it's just new. I'm getting more curious now. Btw, I remembered that you were offering me to buy your 980 two months ago. What happened now? Is it still with you? Wonder if you would let me borrow it for a short audition and just compare to my PK1. If I'm convinced, then I might buy it on the spot.

 

kmhaynes - As long as my ears would enjoy, it's definitely okay with me. Thanks man.

 

ZARIM - The DDM looks very uncomfortable to wear. I have seen several in the For Sale section which is too early for a new phone in the market. Just showing that it might just be another hype. Sorry for the word but I might be wrong. The IE8, I can say, is really promising even though I have not heard one. And another point for the 980.

 

mvw2 - Before I knew about the Blox and the 980, I was really planning to buy the OK1 next before everything became a little bit complicated and now the Custom 3. How far is the bass quantity/quality of the OK1 compared to PK1? Most people say the OK1 is the refined PK1 with lesser bass. I actually use my rockboxed Fuze EQ'd and amped with T4 so EQ'ing would not be a problem. Do you think this combo will do justice for the OK1? I don't want to buy a new player and amp just to squeeze out all the juice out of the OK1. Thanks btw for your nice write-up.

 

Azathoth - So would you recommend the Custom 3 over all the abovementioned options? I have checked treoo.com and DBA-02 is still in pre-oder. Checking now the FOREX rate for SGD to PHP.


Edited by jrazmar - 8/20/10 at 3:38am
post #11 of 14
post #12 of 14

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrazmar View Post

Thank you all guys for your responses. I didn't expect this thread would get your attention.

 

2rooi123 - Saying mx980 is in another league compared to TM5 and OK1 is a very strong statement specially that it's just new. I'm getting more curious now. Btw, I remembered that you were offering me to buy your 980 two months ago. What happened now? Is it still with you? Wonder if you would let me borrow it for a short audition and just compare to my PK1. If I'm convinced, then I might buy it on the spot.

 

kmhaynes - As long as my ears would enjoy, it's definitely okay with me. Thanks man.

 

ZARIM - The DDM looks very uncomfortable to wear. I have seen several in the For Sale section which is too early for a new phone in the market. Just showing that it might just be another hype. Sorry for the word but I might be wrong. The IE8, I can say, is really promising even though I have not heard one. And another point for the 980.

 

mvw2 - Before I knew about the Blox and the 980, I was really planning to buy the OK1 next before everything became a little bit complicated and now the Custom 3. How far is the bass quantity/quality of the OK1 compared to PK1? Most people say the OK1 is the refined PK1 with lesser bass. I actually use my rockboxed Fuze EQ'd and amped with T4 so EQ'ing would not be a problem. Do you think this combo will do justice for the OK1? I don't want to buy a new player and amp just to squeeze out all the juice out of the OK1. Thanks btw for your nice write-up.

 

Azathoth - So would you recommend the Custom 3 over all the abovementioned options? I have checked treoo.com and DBA-02 is still in pre-oder. Checking now the FOREX rate for SGD to PHP.

 

 


DDM only appear to be uncomfortable to wear. Can judge things buy its appearance only. Read head-fi users comment, most of them have no issues with wearing them. I do think they do look odd but hey this are japanesse first ever dual diaphragm matrix earphones on the market. The look is purely Japanese. The original tips which come with Radius arent my favorite, I use comply foam.

Best luck in your search.
 

post #13 of 14

Haha, it was an odd mix of descriptors.  Basically he liked the Blox TM5 for bass, the MX980 for mids, and the PK1 for balance.  He picked the MX980 ultimately but did so because of the vocals which was his preference.  He was amazed that the TM5 could produce the bass it had in such a small package.  He liked the air of the MX980.  He also really liked the separation in the MX980 and found the overall presentation enjoyable, "tasty."  He seemed to want a little more solid of a presence from the MX980, maybe a little too airy, aloof?  I don't know.  The PK1 had a big headphone sound (often described by head-fiers too), and it was less dark than the MX980.  From the funnily worded description, it seems like he's saying the PK1 has a heartier note, perhaps more solid and defined.  The Blox was a list of good, good, good, amazing bass.  The blue wording is a lot easier to follow, lol.  The gist from it seems to be:

MX980: wonderful vocals, air, separation

PK1: balanced, well defined sound

TM5: good all around performer with little fault, incredible amount of bass for a tiny device

 

That seems to be roughly what I'm reading from that thread.  The MX980 seemed more liked and enjoyable.  The PK1 seemed to be described as the most appropriate.  The TM5 was excellent all around with great bass.  The fit and finish of the MX980 also vastly outpaced the Yuin and Blox products, but that's to be expected from Sennheiser.  Both Sennheiser and Shure tend to go out of their way creating visually refined products.  The thread starter seemed to favor the MX980 in the end.  His buddy that I guess helped him during his review seemed to favor the PK1.  His buddy also said the OK1 was more detailed but less balanced which is on par with what fellow head-fiers have described. 

 

I'm not quite sure if the guy in the review had an amp for them or not.  He mentioned uDAC, but I'm not sure what he's specifically referring to with that.  I Google it, and I get Nuforce Icon as the main links, but I don't know if he's actually using a Nuforce Icon or something different.  The Icon is not a very powerfull amp, albeit decently featured and nicely designed.  I know it's not enough to push an OK1 effortlessly.  I also know the Icon is also decently outpaced by better options.  I'm really just guessing that uDAC is referring to the Icon.  It may not be.  I've gotten to the point where I pretty much see the need for a high quality player plus amp or a good amp/DAC combo as a requirement by the time you step to any high end earphones.  These products get so good and reproducing sound that any flaws or limitations with lesser hardware simply limits the product.  The iTouch seems to output a good quality sound according to testing I've found online, good frequency response, low distortion, decently low noise.  Now there's a few generations, so there might be some variance.

 

Yes as to the OK1, it's not really a product I would recommend to someone without buying a robust amp (no cheap FiiO E5 or similar here), and you really have to be fine with a bright earphone or have EQing power on tap.  With none of that, I would certainly point you in another direction because the OK1 wouldn't be as good as it could be.

 

The Custom 3 is just a nice product that does a lot of things right.  In terms of sound, there is not a whole lot to complain about.  Is there better?  Sure.

 

It would be interesting how long you might wait for the DBA-02.  I ordered mine at the beginning of the month.  I'm still waiting for ethan at Bugden to get his shipment in and things sent out.  It might still be another week or so just for me, and even then his stock will be out again.  Anyone ordering now may see their own month's wait too.  I'm hoping it's a good product.  Joker liked it a lot.  LFE liked it a lot and he does audio for a living.  I'm expecting good things, but in the end it's always personal preference and if the product fits my preference.  I've listened to a lot of really good hardware, but good sounding and good fit are two different things.  I've sold a lot of great products simply because they were not the presentation of sound I was shooting for.

 

Also with my time with head-fi, I come to the conclusion that personal preference in king.  What I mean by this is there are a lot of good hardware out there at a wide range of prices that all perform at a similar level overall.  The big difference comes from how they sound different and present music in different ways.  Better isn't so much a factor of SQ but more a factor of fitting to your own preferences.  You can even step down a half notch or notch in sound quality and end up better off if the product fits you better.  You don't want to drop too far or you'll miss out on a lot of other aspects (trade off too much for personal preferences), but there is wiggle room for fitment to your taste in music.  Something like the Custom 3 is one of those half step down products, but for the few things falls short on, it makes up with everything else.  I suggest it because it is a well balanced product that will fit well with a lot of people and it does enough things right to be worth purchase, especially at it's current pricing.  Is there better?  Yes, you can find something better.  Is there something more fitting for you personally? Probably, but without you going into great detail, I don't really know what it might be.

post #14 of 14

roo speaks the truth,the mx980 really is in another league and it stands alone at the top with a very large gap between it and the ok1.  The Entire yuin series is a joke compared to the MX980.  I dont mean to bash yuin, but the yuin PK series is so insanely overhyped and full of nonsense, I must try to at least show other people that the sennheiser MX series is a much better alternative to hanging style earbubs, im not saying they suck, but they are just no where near as good, the pk1 is a step up from the sennheiser Mx580 and the MX880 is better, a lot better.

 

the mx980 was my bud of choice, the only grip I had was the size of the housing, it was huge to me, im short so to me its like having a golf ball stuck in your ear haha.  Anyway, the Mx980 is easily driven and scales up well, but what made it magical to me is that direct from a sansa clip or fuze, it sounded astounding.  With amping, it turned to something seriously incredible.  I cant say enough good things about the mx980 except that its too expensive and too neutral.  Its coloration is nothing like the pk1 or yuin in general, or the Mx580 or 880.  It is noticeably less colored and seriously, its like a mini Shure 840 in earbud form.  Its got the same shape stage, sound and presentation.  

 

I am very excited to try the new Sunrise Charms and see how they compare.  People are comparing them to the Pk1, so that means that they are not even close to being as good as the Mx980s are, I still have to try it though heh

 

Originally Posted by jrazmar View Post

Thank you all guys for your responses. I didn't expect this thread would get your attention.

 

2rooi123 - Saying mx980 is in another league compared to TM5 and OK1 is a very strong statement specially that it's just new. I'm getting more curious now. Btw, I remembered that you were offering me to buy your 980 two months ago. What happened now? Is it still with you? Wonder if you would let me borrow it for a short audition and just compare 

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