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Earsonics SM3 Appreciation Thread - Third Time is a Charm? - Page 101

post #1501 of 1666

Techno I realize you have your own opinion but the fact is that Westone is renowned for their build quality, and the SMx v2 series has well-documented quality control issues. Every pair that has passed through my hands (3) has wound up being defective in some way, 2 of them having the shell fall in two pieces without warning (and I positively baby my IEMs, these are the only ones costing more than $50 that have ever broken on me), and I have heard others complain of the same issue. On top of that, the actual materials they are made of, as you will see if you ever have this problem, are far below the quality I would expect at this price. The cable is very nice overall, but the materials used in the shells themselves are positively insulting for a $350 piece of equipment targeted at the professional market.

 

That said, IMO nothing that I have heard, fullsize or in-ear, matches the SM3 for overall sound quality (resolution, detail, tonal accuracy) at the $350 or below price point. Their sound is absolutely magical and, according to some, compares favorably to customs costing up to twice the $350 that soundearphones asks for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Techno Kid View Post

 

I haven't used them but I'd guess that they're pretty reliable when it comes to shipping times.  If you can get a hold of them by email you might want to ask, but I'm glad to see your getting another SM3 after what happened to your old pair.  The V2's build quality seems as good as the Westone IEM's and if you treat them well you shouldn't have any problems. I've been luck a few times getting the cables snagged but nothing has happened even on once the left housing was ripped out of my ear with the tip still in my ear so you know it got pulled out with some force. 

 

As you know they're just a great sounding IEM and one that I think is well worth the price.


Edited by Gilly87 - 1/10/13 at 8:10pm
post #1502 of 1666

Gilly - are the V2s still having such issues?  I know the V1s had some issues, but hadn't heard that much about the newer shell having issues.  I sold my V1 and had thought about potentially picking up the V2 at some point, but was hoping the new design would be more durable.

post #1503 of 1666

Every pair I have heard of issues with recently has been a V2. I would assume based on what I've heard about the V1s, that they simply changed the shape (and thank god; I don't even care to know who they had to fire for designing an ergo-fit IEM with corners and edges like that...) and made the cable replaceable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KraftD1 View Post

Gilly - are the V2s still having such issues?  I know the V1s had some issues, but hadn't heard that much about the newer shell having issues.  I sold my V1 and had thought about potentially picking up the V2 at some point, but was hoping the new design would be more durable.

post #1504 of 1666
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilly87 View Post

Every pair I have heard of issues with recently has been a V2. I would assume based on what I've heard about the V1s, that they simply changed the shape (and thank god; I don't even care to know who they had to fire for designing an ergo-fit IEM with corners and edges like that...) and made the cable replaceable.


Thanks for the info, that's disappointing.

post #1505 of 1666

I know, it really is. I really want them to be all-around awesome, because they are cheaper than Westone and IMO have better sound than either of their triple driver models. The sound is just so complete, it really doesn't do anything overtly wrong from a technical standpoint. Their FR graph is the most impressive I have seen of any headphone: http://cdn.head-fi.org/a/a1/a1110197_arta-fr-sm3.png

 

It's just flat. I have never seen any other FR graph that is  almost completely flat from 20hz almost up to 2k. Look at the best out there:

 

Full-size:

 

DT880: http://en.goldenears.net/en/files/attach/images/254/302/011/7b20fd21f6003ccea3379b6e787fabdc.png

DT990: http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=2141

HD700: http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=3801

HD800: http://graphs.headphone.com/iconGraph.php?graphID=863

HE-5LE: http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=2251

HE-500: http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=3241

HE-6: http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=2871

K702: http://www.headphone.com/headphones/akg-k-702-black.php

Q701: http://www.headphone.com/headphones/akg-q701-quincy-jones.php

LCD-2: http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=3221

LCD-3: http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=3431

SRH1840: http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=3561

PS1000: http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=2151

GS100i: http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=323

 

IEMs:

 

ER-4S: http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=743

SE535: http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=2731

W4: http://cdn.head-fi.org/1/1c/1c099e88_01.FR_Westone3.png

UE900: http://cdn.head-fi.org/2/28/500x1000px-LL-284421e6_ScreenShot2012-11-23at19.22.14.png

UM Miracle: http://i997.photobucket.com/albums/af93/compudio/REVIEW/Miracle-Graph1.jpg

UM3x: http://en.goldenears.net/en/files/attach/images/108/678/001/bb5dc9723992ef4158b0e5d74347cae8.png

Heir 4.A:http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ISvHi253bzk/UJDadYWc1_I/AAAAAAAACc0/z9Wl57eCPl4/s1600/339ae3c7_4A-Frequency-Chart.jpeg

JH13, UE10, UE11: http://cdn.head-fi.org/5/5c/5c2fd341_517656623.jpeg

JH16: http://www1.pcmag.com/media/images/233163-jh-audio-jh16-pro-jh-audio-jh16-pro-vs-ultimate-ears-ue-18-pro.jpg

UERM: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_5PoM2l0FNM/UGw3dtwmSZI/AAAAAAAAB28/HCtatmbkEWs/s1600/ref.jpg

ES5: http://en.goldenears.net/en/files/attach/images/108/655/012/7769cd218a57cfee8227fce88e59ce3e.png

 

...etc. I'm no good at calculus, but SM3 looks like the flattest graph I can find.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KraftD1 View Post


Thanks for the info, that's disappointing.

post #1506 of 1666
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilly87 View Post

Techno I realize you have your own opinion but the fact is that Westone is renowned for their build quality, and the SMx v2 series has well-documented quality control issues. Every pair that has passed through my hands (3) has wound up being defective in some way, 2 of them having the shell fall in two pieces without warning (and I positively baby my IEMs, these are the only ones costing more than $50 that have ever broken on me), and I have heard others complain of the same issue. On top of that, the actual materials they are made of, as you will see if you ever have this problem, are far below the quality I would expect at this price. The cable is very nice overall, but the materials used in the shells themselves are positively insulting for a $350 piece of equipment targeted at the professional market.

 

That said, IMO nothing that I have heard, fullsize or in-ear, matches the SM3 for overall sound quality (resolution, detail, tonal accuracy) at the $350 or below price point. Their sound is absolutely magical and, according to some, compares favorably to customs costing up to twice the $350 that soundearphones asks for them.

 

All I'm going to say is just buy comparing the 2 side by side they felt like they were both a decent build quality to me.  Also most of the issues with the SM3 was with the first ones.  All I know is I've had my accidentally had the cable get caught a few times and they've been fine.  If you treat something like this like a $20 IEM yeah you might have some problems but if you treat them like they're $400 then you should be fine.  Were the ones that broke one you the first version or the V2. I believe they were the V2.  I'm through with the build quality subject, I'm going by what I think they feel like not by what has happend to others that personally I don't think treat $400 IEM's the way I do.

post #1507 of 1666

*shrug* I've had pairs of skullcandies that lasted longer than my SM3s without breaking, and trust me, I babied my SM3s.

post #1508 of 1666

Do I wish they felt more like a $400 IEM, of course I do but the V2 I have doesn't feel like its a peace of junk either.  I haven't heard as many stories of the V2 falling apart like the first version did.  Anyways it is what it is, that's just my opinion and until something happens to mine (which I don't see anything braking on them) that's what I think of the build quality.

 

About the sound, I've noticed that more than most of the other IEM's I've had they benefit quite a bit from an amp.  The over all sound feels more open and larger while amp'ed.  Most IEM's you might notice a small difference or nothing at all really but the SM3 has changes you can hear easily.  That's why I can't wait tell I get the C&C BH portable amp because I've heard its much better than the E11 I'm using now.

post #1509 of 1666
I'm with Guilly87 on build - one of my filters fell out (and was lost) the day after I recieved mine. I disagree on tonal accuracy though. They're well known for having a musical, mid focused signature, which is how I experienced them. I'd also be interested to know what $700 CIEM the SM3 compared favourably to, and who was comparing it.

Edit: mine were v2, amped
Edited by Nulliverse - 1/11/13 at 2:08am
post #1510 of 1666
Well, what can I say? I broke my first pair, and after being warned about build quality issues and other complaints, I still ordered a new one...that makes me what?
post #1511 of 1666

I have bought a used v1 pair here on head-fi. I have no issues with build quality and I use them on-the-go. The cable is nice, fit and isolation are very good to my ears. They do open up with amping, the presentation actually shows the most difference but I don't feel I am missing anything I look for when unamped. SM3 has a very particalur way of presenting the music. Very mid-forward but spot-on-center, laid-back, detailed, polite, warm and then the imaging, simply amazing. I have heard many pretty good IEMs out there (up to 200 USD) and the SM3 is very unique.

post #1512 of 1666
Ok my comparison to customs may have been a bit...hyperbolic, because I can't think of a particular instance, but I know I have seen people say they prefer the SM3s to some customs.

I do think they are pretty tonally neutral, to my ears at least; they are a bit on the dark side with filters, but without them they are closer than anything I've heard to what I would call natural sound reproduction. Everyone's ears are different, but the graphs seem to agree with mine wink.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nulliverse View Post

I'm with Guilly87 on build - one of my filters fell out (and was lost) the day after I recieved mine. I disagree on tonal accuracy though. They're well known for having a musical, mid focused signature, which is how I experienced them. I'd also be interested to know what $700 CIEM the SM3 compared favourably to, and who was comparing it.

Edit: mine were v2, amped
post #1513 of 1666
It means you love the sound...did you check out those molds I pm'd you? I will be getting mine when I get my SM3 back from repairs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annafrancesca View Post

Well, what can I say? I broke my first pair, and after being warned about build quality issues and other complaints, I still ordered a new one...that makes me what?
post #1514 of 1666
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilly87 View Post

I do think they are pretty tonally neutral, to my ears at least; they are a bit on the dark side with filters, but without them they are closer than anything I've heard to what I would call natural sound reproduction. Everyone's ears are different, but the graphs seem to agree with mine wink.gif

 

So without the filters does it make the mids sound more balanced with the rest of the frequencies?  I'm so tempted to take the filters out because I wouldn't mind them to be a touch brighter but if I remember correctly you said it loses some of the 3D imaging which I wouldn't really like.

post #1515 of 1666

On the contrary I think imaging improves, but the perception of soundstage is decreased. It can still throw individual cues just as far, but overall it is a more forward "in-head" sound; the mids will be even more forward, somewhere between the filtered SM3 and the ASG-1.0, but you will also have a brighter treble with occasional sibilance (might seem impossible if you've only heard them with filters but it's not) and slightly punchier bass.

 

It's going to do more than make them "a touch brighter" though so if you are pleased with the sound overall, I'd say go the EQ route to get that last little bit of sparkle; I'd try a little 2-4 dB bump at 5khz and 11.5khz, to open them up a little. It seemed you really liked the lushness and warmth of the sound, and you will lose a bit of that lush magic for a more raw, stereotypically neutral sound if you take the filters out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Techno Kid View Post

 

So without the filters does it make the mids sound more balanced with the rest of the frequencies?  I'm so tempted to take the filters out because I wouldn't mind them to be a touch brighter but if I remember correctly you said it loses some of the 3D imaging which I wouldn't really like.

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