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CK100, UM3X, SE535, SM3, IE8 – A Journey - Page 6

post #76 of 90
Thread Starter 

Have just received my UM3X replacement and they seem to be OK, out of the box SQ seems to be just fine. I'm giving them a few hours' burn-in - though I don't think that should make any difference, really - but still, my CK100s have about 25 hrs on them already and I want to directly A/B the two one last time before I decide which one to sell. I reckon tomorrow evening I'll have made a decision.

post #77 of 90
Thread Starter 

I have made a final decision: I'm keeping the UM3X and selling the CK100. And so, the UM3X remains the best universal IEM I've ever heard.

 

My UM3X had 8-hrs' burn-in today and I've just finished A/B'ing them (40 minutes) with my CK100s and every single time I compared them I preferred the UM3X's SQ.

I think my new pair must be a little different than the previous one because it sounds even closer to my customs than the pair I sent back to Westone. The CK100 remains a brilliant IEM - and definitely the second best IEM I've heard - but this evening things were clearer than before. I noticed slightly better (clearer) extension on both high & bottom ends -- I could not possibly take more treble (like on the SE535 & CK10) or more bass (like on the W3). Before today I had noticed more bass and treble on the previous UM3X pair I had than on the CK100, but tonight there is that similar added amount on both frequencies, but they seem cleaner, more refined.

While the CK100 still has a very seductive sound to these ears, the UM3X is even more seductive, producing an even fuller, more enveloping sound, quite close, surprisingly, to my very expensive ES3X. Listening to this new pair I can see again why I started this thread last year: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/429275/are-custom-iem-s-overrated

 

On that thread I said my ES3X sounded about 10-15% better than my then UM3X. Tonight I honestly cannot hear more than a 10% improvement, and now these universals come with detachable cables (unlike last year), making my comments on that thread more relevant even today.

I've not been very pleased with Westone a few times due to a series of serious errors last year with my ES3X and some (not so serious) issues in the last few days with my UM3X replacement - they've tried to rectify/ compensate for these, specially this time round. I have to say that their UM3X & ES3X deliver simply stunning SQ, and that, mostly, plus their customer service made me not give up on them, but I'll admit there was a time last year when I'd just had enough and nearly swore I'd not get any more Westone products.


Edited by music_4321 - 9/23/10 at 2:17pm
post #78 of 90

Congrats on finally getting "there" ...  You've heard the best of the best and found what works best for you.. Now you can get back to just listening to music again..  Enjoy!! 

post #79 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post

On that thread I said my ES3X sounded about 10-15% better than my then UM3X. Tonight I honestly cannot hear more than a 10% improvement, and now these universals come with detachable cables (unlike last year), making my comments on that thread more relevant even today.
 

These have the same drivers and crossovers, etc., is that right?

 

It just seems a little amazing to me that the custom side of this pairing can command such a huge price difference for very little difference by just about any measure.

 

Are there any other universal/custom pairs that share the same parts to the same degree? EarSonics sm3/em3? Maybe there the upgrade in build quality would pull some to the custom there, but it's still something like a $600 difference or so.

post #80 of 90

sm3 and em3 are differente drivers, I think it's the same for es3x too, not sure though.

post #81 of 90

i think you and i share very similar preference for sound signatures!

 

I upgraded from CK100 to ES3X and have heard TF10 and owned IE8.

Out of those 3 universals, I'll always prefer CK100. CK100s are just so non-fatiguing and sometimes I find myself really missing its way of rendering music after not listening to it in a while.

One thing I really like about the CK100 is its soundstage, i find it to be rather laid back as compared to IE8. It also has a deeper soundstage, which contributes to its easy listening and less in your face experience.


Edited by kwang411 - 9/24/10 at 12:26am
post #82 of 90
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyRusso View Post

Congrats on finally getting "there" ...  You've heard the best of the best and found what works best for you.. Now you can get back to just listening to music again..  Enjoy!! 


Thanks. Yes, It's been quite an interesting and surprising journey. BTW, I never stopped listening to music, it's just that I don't really enjoy comparing phones.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kunlun View Post

These have the same drivers and crossovers, etc., is that right?

 

It just seems a little amazing to me that the custom side of this pairing can command such a huge price difference for very little difference by just about any measure.

 

Are there any other universal/custom pairs that share the same parts to the same degree? EarSonics sm3/em3? Maybe there the upgrade in build quality would pull some to the custom there, but it's still something like a $600 difference or so.


As far as I know the UM3X & ES3X share the same drivers and crossovers - this was confirmed by a Westone rep last year.

 

As for the price difference, one thing that is a big plus with customs is that the earpieces are made of acrylic and are much stronger than the UM3X (SM3 or SE535) housings. Also, isolation is slightly better on the ES3X. But I still think that the UM3X is a fantastic universal, and for the vast majority of people the ES3X or other high-end customs is not really necessary. Of course, I haven't heard other high-end customs but apparently the differences aren't as big as we are often led to believe. Just like in the case of the SE535, I often think many people need to convince themselves that their expensive customs are are way better than some of the best universals. Having said that, my ES3X are, to me, far better sounding than the SE535 & SM3 - at least that's what my ears told me.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tehort View Post

sm3 and em3 are differente drivers, I think it's the same for es3x too, not sure though.


See above
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwang411 View Post

i think you and i share very similar preference for sound signatures!

 

I upgraded from CK100 to ES3X and have heard TF10 and owned IE8.

Out of those 3 universals, I'll always prefer CK100. CK100s are just so non-fatiguing and sometimes I find myself really missing its way of rendering music after not listening to it in a while.

One thing I really like about the CK100 is its soundstage, i find it to be rather laid back as compared to IE8. It also has a deeper soundstage, which contributes to its easy listening and less in your face experience.


Yeah, the CK100 really is a great IEM, and at some point I thought I'd be keeping them instead of the UM3X, but last night I felt I could come to a final decision, I was quite focused and this last time the difference seemed clearer with the UM3X sounding a little better than my previous pair. Still, on a couple of tracks my preference wasn't completely clear at first. The smoothness you talk about is really a big asset. This universal really sounds top-tier (along with my UM3X). All others I find too expensive and somewhat unrefined & unbalanced.

post #83 of 90
Thread Starter 
post #84 of 90

This is one of the best threads I've read on head-fi.  Hi-quality posts here - especially from music_4321 & mvw2.  That back and forth about details and realism / the photograph vs. painting analogy was the high point, I'll be back on this thread with my impressions once I get my UM3X.  

post #85 of 90
Thread Starter 

^^ Thank you for the kind words.

 

Post your UM3X impressions here if you like, but you may (also) consider posting on the 'official' UM3X thread: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/422240/westone-um3x-appreciation-thread -- whatever your impressions may be, good or not so good, I'm sure more people will find your comments more useful if posted there (too).

post #86 of 90

I'm sorry to dig up this thread, but it's fairly recent (as compared to quite a few other CK100 threads), and so I thought I'd ask: I have the CK100 on the way, which I've always been quite eager to listen to, but after discovering that it's rather source dependant, I'm concerned. I have only my Logitech Z680 connected to my desktop PC, the Sansa Clip+, the FiiO E7, and the Zo amp. Would I not be able to appreciate the CK100 at it's potential with said sources? TYIA.

post #87 of 90

CK100 is very picky (and tip dependent), as far as I can remember CK100 benefits from warmer sounding DAP such as Sony. Sansa on the other hand... it might sound pretty cold to your ears.


Edited by Bokyung - 8/18/11 at 11:04pm
post #88 of 90

Thank you. Anyone else care to share their thoughts?

post #89 of 90

you'll be fine, I wouldn't worry. 

post #90 of 90

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