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Can’t bring myself to enjoy Phonak Audeo PFE sound! What’s now?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

First I had trouble with shallow fit using stock silicones. Shure olives and trimmed tri-flanges solved that, isolation and fit are good with both of these. Trouble is that I can’t bring myself to like the sound! And that even compared to lowly Shure E3 I used on temp basis after second pair of my beloved UE Super.fi 5Pros broke. Tried all three filter types (green, black and grey), EQing or not. Still no cigar – just bland, dump Marlboro Lights J. At the gym or while jogging I listen mostly to fast paced classic rock of all kinds and Phonaks simply don’t engage and excite me in a same way as 5Pros and even E3 do.

 

Yes, technically Phonaks are probably great for the price though, frankly, they still seem overhyped to me here on Head-fi floating near the top of IEM charts. Yes, in comparison E3 sound is much more veiled and almost lacking highs. And, yes, Phonaks deliver clarity, detail, bass quality and balance (especially with black filters) comparable to 5Pros except for bass quantity and soundstage. But there’s still something lifeless about the sound, some analytical soullessness that leaves me constantly irritated and unsatisfied.  Maybe it’s condensed soundstage combined with noticeable slowness compared to 5Pros. I constantly feel I have to raise volume with them (and they are noticeably harder to drive especially when EQed) or, better, to amp the hell out of them to make them alive.  

 

I totally don’t care if Phonaks are wonderfully “neutral”, “balanced”, “sparkling” and whatnot. I simply can’t enjoy what I hear as unenergetic, congested, lazy sound.  And not that I’m a basshead or some dark coloration junkie. After all my main big headphones are tame AKG K-501 (driven via Creek OBH-11 amp) which I most of the time prefer over my Grado SR-225 even for rock.

 

Ok, rant off and sorry if it was long. Hopefully now you understand where I’m coming from and help me choose anti-Phonaks for $160 max. Something tells me to look for dynamic drivers or dual BAs with fast dynamic responses and decent soundstage, resolution and separation and which are easy to drive. I can skip on treble “spark” but that doesn’t mean I’m after boomy and un-detailed Skullcandy sound J. Here are the phones I’m considering (in no particular order):

 

·         Fischer Audio DBA-02

·         Monster Turbines

·         Panasonic HJE900

·         Jays q-Jays

·         Klipsch S4

·         Fischer Audio Silver Bullet

·         Else under $160?

 

So would be your advice?

post #2 of 11

One thing struck me in your post:

Quote:
Maybe it’s condensed soundstage combined with noticeable slowness compared to 5Pros.

 

The Phonak...slow?? There's something wrong! Those are known to be very, very fast. And I had the 5Pro's and did not find them to be really fast. Not slow, but definitely not the fastest either.

 

I would say, go for a good dynamic like the Panasonic HJE900. The Q-jays, from what I read, are quite comparable to the Phonak. The Turbine could do the trick, though I'm not sure about the speed. The Klipsch have some very unsatisfied users here.

You should really check Joker's multi IEM thread.

 

post #3 of 11

 If they sounded un-energetic to you, you should probably look for iems with high dynamic range.

post #4 of 11

Try the Sony MDR-EX700.

post #5 of 11

HJE900 are probably the fastest DDs I've heard and pretty energetic. FWIR the DBAs should also have more bass than the PFEs, but the HJE900 are probably more fun. Apart from these, I'd say moving armatures like the e-Q7 or FI-BA-A1 are very good in combining analytical and fun sound, but out of your price range.

post #6 of 11

I had a similar reaction to them. Technically sound but lacked prat. Same has been said about the new SF5. I wonder if the side-fire BA is the common denominator.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Photofan1986 View Post

The Phonak...slow?? There's something wrong! Those are known to be very, very fast. And I had the 5Pro's and did not find them to be really fast. Not slow, but definitely not the fastest either.

Maybe I didn't express myself right. Probably it's not speed but more of the soundstage issue like flatness or lack of dimension to the sound. Having read all the rave Phonak reviews including the Joker thread (which by now I think I know by heart) I'm trying to undesrtand what's wrong with me and why I'm the only one disappointed with the sound? Maybe I've got  a lemon?

post #8 of 11

Man i understand what you mean. I bought PFE 3 weeks ago and I absolutely love them. SQ is just great! But as you said they're very balanced and analytical. 3 days after i bought Panasonic HJE900 too. I will get them only for xmas but i bought them to have a V shaped iems with a more engaging sound. I will still keep PFE as my primary iem smily_headphones1.gif

post #9 of 11

I just received my Phonak Audeo Perfect Bass Earphone yesterday & love 'em to death. They are great. The clarity and precision is amazing.

 

I'm so sorry you need a different sound signature.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

So Pana HJE900 ($90) vs Monster Turbines ($100)? They are in the same price league, both use dynamic drivers. Whatever I glance from reviews both seem to satisfy sound signature I'm looking for. Which one better satisfies my needs?

 

Needs:

 

1. Spacious soundstage

2. Speed

3. Good detail and clarity

4. Easy to drive on iPhone4

5. In general approximate UE 5Pros

6. Good isolation and comfort

7. Well suited and fun for Classical Rock

 

Don't Needs:

 

1. I'm ok with warm coloration and lack of neutrality but please no overpowering bass and screeching highs

2. No obvious mudiness and veiled mids

3. No need to amp to sound good

4. No cabling with microphonics even when worn over the ear

5. No cabling with especially bad propensity  to tangle

6. No wide spread reports of build quality problems

 

What say you?


Edited by albau - 11/3/10 at 6:15pm
post #11 of 11

the monster turbine is clearly out! only bassy and nothing more, bad fit, no soundstage and details and so on... (only design like skullcandy...)

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