So that's what you get in the box, and that's how they look installed. I expected less tips, so that was cool to get a bunch of em. Quite a few in various sizes and materials. But I will probably never use the ones that came in the case, because I use Shure Olives and love em.
One thing I thought would be bigger is the box. As you can see in the pics, it is quite small, but I guess Westone decided to save some packaging and keep it little. No biggie. The Triple.Fi box was waaay bigger, but so are the Triple Fi's themselves and their case. This packaging stuff makes no difference to me anyway.
I like the different style case, but not sure yet if it is any more useful than the UM2's round case. Nice to have something different though, as I have been using UM1 and UM2 round cases for years.
Build quality looks great. Sturdy, and future proof with the removable (IE replaceable cable.) This also gives the option of upgrading to a higher quality cable if needed. But this cable is great just like Westone is known for. No microphonics that I can notice anyway.
It does have the mold-able wire in the first few inches of the cable by the earphones. Not sure if I like this, but when I get to moving around on the stage I may find it more stable. Never had much problem with the UM2 cable, but I did have to adjust it sometimes during or after fast songs where I play guitar and move a lot. We'll see...I sorta don't like the moldable feel around my ears though. it seems a little harder on the skin. Didn't like it with the Triple Fi's either, but I think it can easily be gotten use to, and for home use i doubt it would ever be a real deal breaker for anyone.
I am listening to some of my music in iTunes on my Macbook. So far have gone through Some Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Rascal Flatts, Sandra, McCracken, Kieth Urban, Lincoln Brewster, Jim Brickman, and some old school Journey and Def Leppard.
Initial impressions are that these are very honest monitors and sound incredible and very neutral and balanced to my ears. They pretty much reveal anything..Good or Bad. What I mean is..like on a Sandra McCracken tune which is like Irish Folk Acoustic stuff, I could actually hear Sandra go flat at the end of a verse where she got a little lazy vocally and missed it just a bit.
I notice things that sound "big" in the UM3x, that I never heard enough of in the mix with the UM2, but did hear in a different way with the Triple Fi 10. Bass is strong, but in a balanced recording studio monitor sort of way, that is not overpowering. I imagine this can also be shaped with various tips, but I really like it so far with the Shure Olives. I am honestly hearing instruments, vocals, percussion, and effects that I never even knew were in many of the songs in my iTunes Library.
I absolutely loved the UM2 for live band use, and I think it is pretty much the perfect IEM for on stage use, except that if you are a drummer or other instrument player it lacks a bit in instrument detail, that you could really use to help play tighter and with more feel. But it is great at bringing out vocals, and great for vocalists to be able to hear their voices clearly to better sing on pitch. I think the UM3x has a similar feel, but just has a little more of everything, and a little more detail in everything except maybe vocals; which right now at least sound very similar (may be a little more detailed but not sure of that yet.)
On guitar and drums stuff, I can hear things so clear such as the sliding of the hand on the strings, percussive playing, pick hitting the strings, etc. Drums are the same way. I hear the drum tip hitting the cymbal and the drum head in some recordings.
Honestly I could say some of the same great things about the Triple Fi 10. They sound great also..but a different sort of great. The Triple Fi 10 was definitely not as neutral to my ears. Powerful bass and detailed high end. But so much high end detail was harsh to my ears and fatiguing, And with that IEM, I could never get a good fit. It actually hurt my ears after a short time no matter what tips I used, and there was no way I could use them on stage in our venues, because of the visibility issues. I realize most people would never have to deal with that, but I am a musician that is filmed regularly in our services, so it is much better to have less visible IEM's on stage, so that when you are on the jumbo screens you don't look like Frankenstein with bolts coming out of your ears If a regularly video'd musician loves the Triple Fi 10, i would suggest getting custom molds if nothing else for the visibility issues.
Another thing I would say is that the UM3x reveals any junk such as artifacts that are in compressed recordings. The more compressed your music is..the more artifacts and and consequently less detail you will hear. So this may not be the IEM for folks who want something to just make music sound good no matter what type of compression is used. Don't get me wrong..compressed music still sounds good, and I would rather hear a little junk and still get all the bonuses that come along with the UM3x's sound than to buy a less revealing IEM. Cuz here's the thing...just like with a good set of neutral studio monitors, when the recordings are not compressed or you are listening to these with a live real band...they are gonna be revealing all the good stuff too in a balanced way! For me that is exactly what I am looking for.
So those are some of my first impressions and pics. Been in my ears for three hours now, Still rocking, and still very comfortable. Liking them more and more. Doubt the honeymoon will end any time soon. Glad I spent the extra $$$. Can't wait to use em live with a band!
Edited by willyc32 - 10/19/10 at 6:37pm