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(Finished!!!) Review Set: UM3X, e-Q7, RE262, Triple.Fi 10, RE252, CK100, RE-Zero, Custom 3, OK1,... - Page 8

post #106 of 152

Quote:

Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
  The understanding gets built over time and the breadth of experience also helps cancel out the individual changes per recording.  An earphone that's bassy with one song doesn't mean the earphone is bassy.  It could just be the song.  An earphone that's bassy with 100 songs is a bassy earphone. 

 

 

True, it will take a while to get to this way of thinking, new users have a long glorious road ahead of them though.

 

I miss the days I didn't worry about the small things..now I worry about everything.
 

 

post #107 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post





Ratings implies personal preference to some degree.  To convey a number, I would still need to back it up with descriptive information describing why the item deserves that number.  For the most part, I have already provided the descriptive information, just no rankings.  Really, you should be able to read through the descriptions and say "yeah, that sounds like something I'd like." or "hmm, I'd prefer my whatever to sound a different way."  You should be able to generate a relative scale of personal fit from the written details.  That fit is effectively your own ranking which in turn would vary from my ranking.  I could rank in a generalized sense, but I would still be ranking on criteria that I would need to still define in detail.  A simply example is what is good bass?  Not everyone will agree o the same thing.  Some like tight, punchy bass and an earphone like the RE252 might rank high.  Some like a heavy, smooth note, and something like the HJE900 or Triple.Fi 10 will rank higher.  This hobby is all about personal preference, so it's best to follow that.  The best I can do is try and describe things in as much detail as I'm willing, and then for you to read that information and decide if that product fits your own preferences or not.   I don't feel there is a better route outside of actually listening to the product yourself.  Ranking is simply applying one number to a complex group of sound.  How one comes to that ranked value is very much open to interpretation. 


thank you for the clarification! once again, amazing review. i am using shure olives on my custom 3's and was wondering what your tips were. comply tx400's? thanks!
post #108 of 152
Thread Starter 

Now I don't want to say that ratings are not useful.  It's simply that they are conditional because you are encompassing a broad spectrum of info into one number.  As a reader, that only makes things quick but vague.  The last several review sets I've done really have had no numbering at all, simply descriptions of what things sound like, to these ears at least.

 

I have a pair of Olives left that I chopped off the ends up to the plastic tube, although that's not necessary unless you want to play with deeper insertion to which only a certain few earphones fit deep enough well.  For many, the housings just get in the way.  I was using the Olive tips on the Custom 3.  I like the closed cell foam as it minimally affects the sound signature.  The comply foam tends to have a much bigger effect on things and can even pinch at least partially shut if you're not careful.

 

I still don't worry about the small things.  The biggest hassle is just finding something you like.  For me that's a mix of balance and capability as well as general preference towards what I like.  I like a lot of earphones for various reasons, but the ones I keep using are the ones that tend to do everything well and don't really mess up anywhere.  I like balance.  I like broad capability.  I'm fine with minor shortcomings as long as the overall package outweighs them.


Edited by mvw2 - 3/24/11 at 11:48pm
post #109 of 152

just curious..

would the frequency of the graph differs if you havent mod / defoamed the re262?

 

anyways congrats on ur work about this. i was hoping to hear it earlier tho.. i kinda quit iems already.. after i found speakers. they can get very close to live.. hehe.

post #110 of 152
Thread Starter 

I did run the RE262 without the foam.  Even so, it's still focused towards the upper mids and the top end is sweet and open.  I don't like the foam in the earphone.  I have to foam out of the RE-ZERO as well for the test, although that could go more either way.  The RE252 has the foam in because the treble is too much without.

post #111 of 152


To make things more precise perhaps ratings similar to this one [Speed/Separation/Reverb] will be quite useful (and perhaps add dynamic range). These are aspects that are generally more objective and measurable whereas a more holistic rating evaluation is prone to individual bias. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post

Now I don't want to say that ratings are not useful.  It's simply that they are conditional because you are encompassing a broad spectrum of info into one number.  As a reader, that only makes things quick but vague.  The last several review sets I've done really have had no numbering at all, simply descriptions of what things sound like, to these ears at least.

 

I have a pair of Olives left that I chopped off the ends up to the plastic tube, although that's not necessary unless you want to play with deeper insertion to which only a certain few earphones fit deep enough well.  For many, the housings just get in the way.  I was using the Olive tips on the Custom 3.  I like the closed cell foam as it minimally affects the sound signature.  The comply foam tends to have a much bigger effect on things and can even pinch at least partially shut if you're not careful.

 

I still don't worry about the small things.  The biggest hassle is just finding something you like.  For me that's a mix of balance and capability as well as general preference towards what I like.  I like a lot of earphones for various reasons, but the ones I keep using are the ones that tend to do everything well and don't really mess up anywhere.  I like balance.  I like broad capability.  I'm fine with minor shortcomings as long as the overall package outweighs them.



 


Edited by Inks - 3/25/11 at 12:52pm
post #112 of 152
Thread Starter 

Well speed on a basic sense is a matter of if the earphone seems effortless or not in the presentation of sound.  Some may regard aggressiveness as speed though.  High texturing and articulation could be perceived as speed in the sense of bringing forth more details, although this isn't speed alone but also actually providing a longer, more well rounded note that is not particularly smoothed.  Then again, a long note could be perceived as thick and sluggish.  I don't mind numbers as long as there is a good definition of what the numbers mean.  Even with that link you posted, I still could only provide a general idea.  What the ideas of speed, separation, and reverb represent to people vary.  For example, I have an earphone that provides a note with a long decay and another earphone with a thickly textured note but not particularly lengthy in decay.  Anything with a drawn out note would need to fall under the reverb classification because that is the only label used to define length of note.  It doesn't say how the note is presented, just that it's long or short.  Separation could vary too because there are earphones that put sounds in pinpoint places, individual, and easily unique.  The sound stage may not be big though.  An earphone like the SE530 or RE262 is a good example.  The separation is done via a very clean note, and no sounds muddy together.  Other earphones may spread out the sounds spatially very well and provide the separation that way but presents them in a thicker presence that isn't as cut and dry.  Good examples would be the e-Q7 or Triple.Fi 10.  Sounds are unique in space but not as pinpoint and "alone" as the other earphones.  The sense of separating the sounds is done differently but both methods work.  Both would have to be classified under the separation heading and given a number, but one must make a judgment on how they want to scale that or if either method is equally good.  Clarity may make things sound individual but things may be layered upon each other in the stage space.  The sounds are unique in clarity but not in space.  The other earphones spread out the sounds well but may not provide the same clarity.  You gain the spacial separation but not the clarity.  Simply placing a number here conveys a general sense but again does not state specifics as in the how it separations and why it was ranked that number.

 

I'm not trying to denounce the idea of ranking, but it does oversimplify things.  Ranking works great if you have a thorough description backing the value for a person to fall back on and read in detail.  However, if someone still needs to fall back on the text to understand the value they already read and understand the earphone without needing to look at the value.  If they just take the value as is, they make assumptions under their own context without really knowing the details.  In the end, you always want to know the details, but if you know them, ranking becomes irrelevant. :p  I'd rather just describe things and let you be the judge.  The earphone will either present sound the way you want or it won't.  That's it.

post #113 of 152

Hi mvw2,

 

Is it possible to compare the iems by group (Dynamic vs BA)?

What are the strong points of each group?

Can we say that the Dynamics' bass have "punch" or the BAs have better midrange?

Does the re-zero sound like a BA?

 

Thanks.

post #114 of 152
Thread Starter 

In a general sense, BA drivers and dynamic drivers sound a little bit different from each other.  BA drivers tend to have a lighter, quicker sound.  Details tend to always be more edgy, never really rounded off.  Interestingly BAs tend to not really get muddy or sloppy even with a thick note (Triple.Fi 10, Custom 3).  Dynamics do tend to have an easier time presenting a visceral sense of sound, although BAs will too but tend to need more volume to develop that presence.  BA drivers tend to not cover the entire frequency spectrum well, requiring multiple drivers to fully cover the spectrum.  A single BA could be shaped using filters and create a reasonably well balanced and extended presentation though, but it's often a little rough around the edges compromising in some way in the bass and/or treble.  Earphones like the ER4, PFE, or SA6 fair rather well as a single driver, but there is noticeable limitation.  Dynamic drivers tend to be able to cover the spectrum better as a single unit, although this doesn't mean all dynamics cover the spectrum well.  They both vary quite a bit in terms of how they can sound and can present a short or long note, texture or note, various levels of speed and detail, and so on.  For the most part, you can tell them apart as in if you didn't know what driver type was being used you could guess and most of the time be right.  I could say the Triple.Fi 10 and RE-ZERO present notes in a similar way, but I wouldn't say the RE-ZERO sounds like a BA or the Triple.Fi 10 like a dynamic.  Yet, I could say the RE-ZERO conveys some traits like a BA and the Triple.Fi 10 some traits like a dynamic.  At the end of the day though, you're not really picking dynamic or BA, you're just picking the product that gives you the sound you want, whatever that might be.

post #115 of 152

Thank you for the info on Dynamics vs BAs,

 

I prefer my TF10, Ety HF5 over the IE6,C751.

 

I am looking at the RE-ZERO.

post #116 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post

Now I don't want to say that ratings are not useful.  It's simply that they are conditional because you are encompassing a broad spectrum of info into one number.  As a reader, that only makes things quick but vague.  The last several review sets I've done really have had no numbering at all, simply descriptions of what things sound like, to these ears at least.

 

I have a pair of Olives left that I chopped off the ends up to the plastic tube, although that's not necessary unless you want to play with deeper insertion to which only a certain few earphones fit deep enough well.  For many, the housings just get in the way.  I was using the Olive tips on the Custom 3.  I like the closed cell foam as it minimally affects the sound signature.  The comply foam tends to have a much bigger effect on things and can even pinch at least partially shut if you're not careful.

 

I still don't worry about the small things.  The biggest hassle is just finding something you like.  For me that's a mix of balance and capability as well as general preference towards what I like.  I like a lot of earphones for various reasons, but the ones I keep using are the ones that tend to do everything well and don't really mess up anywhere.  I like balance.  I like broad capability.  I'm fine with minor shortcomings as long as the overall package outweighs them.


does cutting off the end of the olive majorly impact the sound of the custom 3?
post #117 of 152

 

Very interesting work!

 

mvw2, I know that you usualy equalize your IEMs... if possible, i would like to know the procedure you use to equalize them.

 

Do you try to make their FR as flat as possible to your ears, or do you use another reference?

 

What software/hardware do you use to equalize them?

(I'm using foobar2000 - Electri-Q VST with SineGen and AudioTestFileGen, which creates sinus sweeps, noises, etc,... files)

 

And how would you rank the IEMs you reviewed here by sound resolution or overall sound quality after equalized?

 

Thanks!

post #118 of 152
Thread Starter 

I typically do find an EQ setting for each, but for this match up I stayed away from that.  I wanted to present the sound the way I hear them without any adjustment, as in how you may probably hear them.  If I want to personally live with an earphone I will either run it on a normal basis with an EQ or pick an earphone that is well balanced from the start so I won't need one.

 

My basic EQing method is just to run pink noise.  There are tracks online or you can just create your own.  The main idea here is pink noise is of equal intensity throughout the audio spectrum.  The goal is to adjust the EQing till all the frequencies sound equal in loudness.  100Hz is as loud as 1kHz is as loud as 10kHz.  There is no dip and no one frequency range overshadows another.  This is the goal anyways.  If done right, nothing will stand out.  Basically I tune the earphone flat to what my ears perceive as flat.  It isn't an absolute flat but a flat that I perceive.  Realize that "flat" varies from day to day and varies even by volume.  Our perception of sound isn't exactly static.  I've EQed some of these earphones multiple times over a year's span of time.  My setting of teh UM3X from a year ago isn't the same as my UM3X today.  It's similar but not exactly the same.  I do have a different UM3X, so meh on that too.  I've EQed these repeatedly over several days.  The end result never quite comes out the same.  You do find that you keep coming back to a very similar curve again and again with dB values at about the same level.  If you can repeat from scratch and end up basically at the same end result you sort of just leave it here and call it as good as it will get.  You're working with an organic mic, so it's not quite an exact science.  You just sort of have to end up with something you're happy with, something that's largely repeatable, and something that ends up sounding natural when you actually play music..  Then I just take music as is.

 

I will say it can take time to get used to listening to pink noise and trying to hear a pile of different frequencies at once.  Pink noise is not something you jump into.  It's something you acclimate yourself to.  I started out using pink noise when I first started running an active setup in my car some years back.  By active I mean the HU had the crossover settings built in and I could independently control levels, crossover points, slopes, time alignment, and EQ of every single speaker.  I played with a lot of things like test tones, but ended up really liking pink noise.  I also ran a large variety of speakers in my car, so I might run a specific pair of tweeters for a month and then step to something else.  Maybe I'd try out a different woofer instead.  Maybe I just swapped out everything and started with something competely new.  I had to reset and rebalance the system every time I changed things.  I would literally drive home for 30 minutes with just test tones and noise tracks playing and me just sitting there fiddling with settings.  The more I did, the faster I got.  If I didn't do anything for a while, I got rusty.  For about 2 years there was probably hardly a day I wasn't fiddling with something.  Some of it was a byproduct of using mis-matched hardware and pretty much trying to make a compromised setting that worked ok.  For the most part, it just sounded wrong, and I would eventually swap in new hardware.  Later I learned better and finally started using better matched hardware and avoiding the hassle all-together.  Today I run a 3-way setup in my car that's all controlled via the HU for levels, crossovers, time alignment, and EQing.  I evolved it to an end package that offers me the best overall capability.  It taught me a ton about tuning as well as variety of sound.  Pretty much over 3 years I ran over two dozen different brands and models of tweeters, woofers, and subs in the car, everything completely active.  For much of the last few years I've exclusively run pink noise and adjusted the same way.  I just like pink noise a lot.  It's been the easiest tool I've found to where I could get quick and repeatable results.  Earphones are a bit easier in that you're only adjusting EQ, but they also tend to be a bit worse in EQ balance too which can be a bit hassle if you don't have a powerful EQ.  Speakers are at least largely flat over their functional region, so it's mostly just balancing everything out.

 

I suggest just doing 10 bands and just up and down, up and down adjusting.  Stop after a while and do something else.  Then come back to it and start adjusting again.  Do you end up at a similar result or is it a bit different now?  Come back tomorrow and repeat.  Does the setting tomorrow end up about the same or a bit different?  Repeat.  At some point, you will find yourself just setting everything basically to the same spots.  The general shape will end up being pretty much the same every time, day to day.  A LOT of the time you're spending is simply you acclimating yourself to the spectrum of sound.  You're fiddling with the EQ the whole time, but it's mostly just a learning process.  If you find yourself sitting there for an hour just tweaking and ending up with varied results, don't feel bad.  It just takes time to get to a point where you hear everything at once. 

 

For the most part, this is what you're doing.  Start with 1kHz.  Move it up and down and listen to that note region.  Focus on that note.  Now move the 2kHz region up and down while both hearing that 1kHz tone and the 2kHz tone while you attempt to balance the perceived loudness.  Now adjust 4kHz while trying to hear the 1kHz and 2kHz tones at the same time.  I'm telling you to do 10 bands like this.  Now you won't hear every single band, but the goal is to hear a lot of them at once and to be able to compare the single band you're adjusting up and down in relation to those.  This gets a little messy too because the actual shape of the response isn't always smooth and rounded.  Some earphones have more of a triangle shape or a sharp ramp up that doesn't fit well with 10 well spaced bands.  At the end, it will be set well but still sound a little off till you fine tune the shape.  You can simply add more points with the Electri-Q and reshape the curve to a more exact setting.  You might end up with 20 to 30 points you're fiddling with to create the end shape you want.  At the end, you should be able to take one point and move it in small increments all the way through the spectrum moving it up and down from 0dB and not wanting to add or subtract from anywhere.  At this point you're flat, but you're also playing with a pile of points and have a curve that a simple EQ can't replicate.  A simple example is I'm using 10 bands that use 8kHz and 16kHz points.  Well, many of these earphones don't center their curves at 8kHz, and the 16kHz doesn't really let me shape the curve very well.  Adding 6kHz, 10khz, 12kHz, and 14kHz points help fine tune the shape so much better.  When I stick to just the 8kHz and 16kHz, it's set as well as it can but still sounds unbalanced because I'm EQing the wrong spots.  Until the curve is actually shaped right, it will always sound a little weird.  Once you reshape it right, it sounds really even and good.  The downside is most people will not have this kind of EQing power, not even close.  Heck a lot of music players are lucky to have 3 or 5 bands that adjust in 3dB increments.  Electri-Q is up to 64 points stuck anywhere to create any shape and can be adjusted in tiny, tiny dB increments.  It's really, really nice, but 99.9% of the people will really, really have nothing like it.

 

I can't say I'd describe earphones different EQed or not, at least in terms of how they simply present notes.  I do try to keep those aspects separate and simply relate to how the frequency response influences the presentation.  The difference really only comes down to balance, and some are worse than others which does affect the overall end experience.  For example, I really like the UM3X, but it's an earphone I can't live with without EQing.  The overall presentation becomes significantly more balanced when EQed, and it's a much more natural experience once this is done.  For those that have heard this earphone, liked it a lot, but ultimately couldn't live with the byproducts of its response, it is a significantly nicer earphone once balanced out. 

 

EQing does help take out some of the shortcomings people list with earphones.  For example, the recess mids of the UM3X or the mild highs are largely a frequency response issue.  The Triple.Fi 10's bright signature and bass presence balance out once EQed.  Really, it's not hard to improve any of these earphones with at least a little bit of EQing.  Now some earphones benefit from it much less, like the RE252 and e-Q7 which are both very well balanced earphones.  There isn't much to fix and using or not using EQing doesn't really matter.  However, for earphones that are far more colored, it can become a deal breaker when it comes time to ask yourself "Am I going to keep this or not?"

 

I would not rank anything different in terms of resolution or sound quality.  Frequency response is really only a coloration issue.  EQing won't may the earphone more or less dynamic or more or less detailed.  EQing just pulls out a lot of the coloration and makes for a more neutral and natural sounding earphone.  As well, it can fix tonality issues that can affect perception of the sound stage in terms of location.

post #119 of 152

perhaps someone should do a review of world class headphones using human voice recordings from answering machines cassettes biggrin.gif

post #120 of 152

Thank you for your answer, mvw2.

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