Here is my original SM3 thread. It was locked due to arguing.
Here is the second SM3 thread. It was locked due to arguing.
Here is a review by shigzeo on TouchMyApps where it won Editor's Choice
Here is a review by dfkt on anythingbutipod
So, can we all get along in this new thread?
Some recent questions: What is better, the JH5 or the SM3?
And the SM3 build quality was an issue and was supposed to be fixed. Was it?
My current thoughts on the SM3:
- It does many things I have never heard any other IEM in the price range do, but the number one thing for my ears is the realistic sound from a soundstage proportion perspective combined with that soundstage being much wider than the few other IEMs that also have a realistic proportion. What I mean is, the side-to-side proportion is correct compared with the front-to-back proportion and top-to-bottom proportion. Other IEMs I have heard with great width (IE8 & FX700 for example) seemed compressed front-to-back and top-to-bottom. Others that got the proportions right (CK10 & UM3X for example) have a much smaller overall space, compressing everything and hiding some of the instrument (or electronic note) detail making it more difficult to make out the complete musical picture. The proportion has allowed me to hear instruments in ways other IEMs did not portray.
- The sound signature is not for everyone as the treble is not sparkly (except after a filter mod, which I have not tried) like many other IEMs (FX700, CK10, DBA-02, etc.) leading some people to say the treble is lacking. I think the treble is natural and neutral, reminding me of what I actually hear at live venues. The bass is powerful and the mids are rich.
- The sound changes quite a bit depending on tips used, sources it is paired with, and the original recording. If you have a rich, thick recording with a warm source, the SM3 can sound too thick and veiled making me skip the track. But when paired with a neutral source thick, warm songs are reproduced with thickness, but not overly with my source/tip combination. Of course, something like the DBA-02 will offer more clarity for those thick songs, but due to the sound signature, everything has that clarity and many tracks sound overly lean to me. I think the DBA-02 & CK10 etc. need a warm setup to sound their best, but still will not be able to approach the SM3's richness.
- I baby my stuff, but have still had both shells come lose. Of course, being one of the first 2 on head-fi with the SM3, my SM3 uses the old material that has this issue. I used plastic weld and since have not had a problem. Build quality issues? I don't know.
- The cable past the Y split is short, but it stretches. I usually listen to the EM3 Pro and LCD-2 these days, but I put the SM3 in the other day and think the cable shrunk a little bit. It wasn't really a bother, just a surprise!
- With the right tips/fit the SM3 bass can compete with most dynamics (and surpass others such as the RE252).
- In my opinion, the SM3 (and EM3 Pro and LCD-2) have different sound signatures than is typical, so an adjustment time does help. I hated the SM3 out of the box. Well, not hated, but was disappointed. I have read similar statements from the EM3 Pro and LCD-2 owners. Just something to think about!
I have to admit, I don't use my SM3 much anymore due to my EM3 Pro, which is a worthwhile improvement in my opinion ,and the LCD-2 which shares a similar sound to the EM3 Pro, but I still do use it from time to time and do enjoy the sweet music it produces!
What are your appreciation stories?
*** The SM64 is out to replace the SM3. You can read my review here. ***
Edited by average_joe - 5/9/13 at 10:11pm