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(Finished!!!) Review Set: UM3X, e-Q7, RE262, Triple.Fi 10, RE252, CK100, RE-Zero, Custom 3, OK1,... - Page 9

post #121 of 152

Beautiful. I can really see the amount of effort you poured into this. I hope you will keep on testing more and more IEM's and comparing them. I would love to see how the Etymotics ER-4P's compare to the rest of these babies. 

post #122 of 152

MVW2, I appreciate the reviews.  My 262's arrived this week and I think you are spot on with your comparisons to the RE-Zero.  I definitely agree when you say the ZERO's don't do everything right but also don't do a lot of things wrong, which makes them a keeper.  The Zero is more analytical and balanced.  The 262 have a different signature and maybe warmer if that's a good description for it.  Definitely more thump in the 262's but not overly done.  I need to break in the 262's a little more before I talk about soundstage.  Right off the bat my wife thought the ZERO's had a larger soundstage when I had her listen to them both.  She inherited the ZERO's but I may need to buy her the new Apple earbuds with remote and microphone so I can get the ZERO's back.  The new Apple earbuds are supposedly good so I won't feel too guilty wink_face.gif   

post #123 of 152

Really impressed by the amount of time you've put into this (!!) but am really, truly perplexed as to why you'd use YouTube videos as your source.  If you're going to put such a massive amount of time and energy into such a project, why wouldn't you use quality listening material?  I listened to each of the videos and they all sound terrible.  It's like comparing sports cars while never taking them out of the parking lot...

 

But again, I commend your dedication.  You are indeed a wordsmith.

post #124 of 152

Very detailed and well written. Your observations are really an eye opener. It gave me a crystal idea about all the earphones. I've been using the W3s for a year now and I still find it to be the best Universal IEM. Although I only have used a SE530 before. Where do you find the Custom 3 compared to the above mentioned pairs.

 

Thanks

post #125 of 152
Thread Starter 

I've used the SE530 but not the W3.  I've only used the UM3X which I understand is like the W3 in many ways but still different somewhat.  For ease, I'll just copy what I wrote a year ago for the SE530.  I found the SE530 to be a lot like the PFE and RE262 in behavior, very short, clean note, extremely dynamic, but decays so quick that it lacks texturing and note body which does create some shortcomings.  The Custom 3 and I suspect W3 (relative to my experience with the UM3X) offer a much thicker note that's more textured and filled out.  The Custom 3 is better balanced overall than the UM3X and I very much suspect the W3 which offering a similar although not quite as clear note.  The Custom 3 is a half step down in clarity but better balanced in response.  It's also vastly cheaper which makes it a seriously good buy.  I've viewed the RE-Zero and Custom 3 as two of the best bang for the buck IEMs on the market because they're affordable, broadly capable, excellently balanced, and offer near top end audio quality at a fraction of the cost. 

 

I'm going to toss on my listening notes and review of the SE530 from another thread of mine since the SE530 was not reviewed here.  I'm also linking all my old review threads which does include many of the earphones I've reviewed here but from me reviewing them a year ago.  You may notice some similarities and differences in my perception of them. 

 

Listening notes of the SE530:

 

SE530

Bass: good energy, some fullness but stops short in depth, deep notes are subtle or non-existent but not really missed if you’re not expecting it, lacks body/fullness at times depending on note frequency, sometimes prominent, sometimes recessed depending on frequency, high bass well defined, good reverberation on long notes.

Mid: natural, open, light, clean

Treble: good lower high frequency presence, rolled off on top making slightly recessed, helps against fatigue/non-offensive, lacks sparkle, edge openness

Stage: well rounded space, in-head sound but not walled in, can sometimes forget the earphones are there producing the sound, not quite as good as the OK1 in this regard

Location: everything exists in a well defined exact spot, does not transmit distance well, oddly placed sounds

Clarity: clean, light, open, great precision but lacks body of note/thickness/texture/articulation, very low distortion/noise in note

Tone: neutral, natural but rolled off on both ends making for recessed highs and recessed bass and non-existent bottom octave notes

Dynamics: medium, good energy but light weight, effortless sound but lacks bite, lacks visceral impact, kind of laid back, lacks some ability to differentiate range, prefers prolonged notes over short notes

 

Review (ClieOS format):

 

Model Name Shure SE530
Variation: NA
Transducer: 2-way, 3 balanced armature drivers
Spec: 36Ω (@1kHz) | 119dB SPL | 18Hz ~ 19kHz
Cord Style: Y-cord, 1.2m.
Mini Jack Style: ┃ (sturdy plastic with short, stiff relief)
Eartips Used: Shure foam (Olive)
Physical Properties:
┣ Packaging: ★★★★★ (black painted, brushed aluminum case, very unique, compact)
┣ Accessories: ★★★★★ (stiff clamshell carrying case with inset Shure naming, PTH device, tons of cabling, excellent array of tips stock)
┣ Build Quality: ★★★★☆ (slightly industrial wiring and connections, earphone is glued plastic but feels sturdy, short, firm reliefs everywhere)
┣ Isolation: ★★★★★ (Excellent as expected, on par with most IEMs)
┣ Microphonics: ★★★★★ (excellent, over the ear design)
┣ Comfort: ★★★★ (The IEMs themselves are comfortable, light weight, well shaped. The cabling and connectors have some weight and the PTH device does add bulk although it does have a clip on the back)
┗ Quick Sum: The fit and finish and array of accessories does indicate this was geared towards a more discerning buying. All parts feel of quality and are well thought out. The metal box is interesting but serves no additional purpose. The carrying case is very well made, maybe a little big (to carry PTH I assume). This earphone comes with a LOT of accessories which isn't terribly common. It's nice to see. The cabling scheme is a little weird with its multi-piece setup, but it does allow for flexibility in length and configuration. There's a little excess bulk from it.
Sound Quality:
┣ Treble: ★★★★ (good lower frequency presence but top end rolls off making for a slightly recessed/dark top end, clean, light, good energy, does extend high but is quiet and overshadowed by the midrange, non-fatiguing)
┣ Mid: ★★★★★ (natural, open, light, clean, well balanced, dynamic)
┣ Bass: ★★★☆ (good energy, some fullness but stops short in depth, body, and fullness on songs with low frequency information, high bass is well defined, good reverbueration on long notes, a little light on quick notes)
┣ Soundstage: ▆ ▄ ▂ ▂ ▂ ▄ ▆ - Good / Average
┣ ABF: Low
┣ Overall SQ: [4/5]
┗ Quick Sum: The SE530 does certain things really well. The midrange response is even and flat with natural tonality. The presentation is light, very clean, and dynamic. Transparency is excellent. Stage presence is neither intimate or far away. Locational cues are excellent in placing a sound in an exact point in space. Subsequently there is good direction and distancing. However, the stage presence falls apart in appropriately placing information. In a live concert, you might get the screaming audience being presented up on stage and closer then the drummer. The placement gets weird sometimes. It has a relatively intimate and close presentation. Everything sort of falls over each other and makes for a goofy stage space sometimes. The size doesn't sound confined, but far stuff is close and close stuff is close. The roll off on the top end isn't bad, and you do eventually get used to it. It helps with fatigue. It's light, clean, and open. The low end suffers, and it's always slightly lacking on the low frequency information. It does certain things really well but faulters in several places. Dynamics are good, and it can present energetic information strongly. It is a little light on body/weight/thickness of note. It's more light and delicate in sound.
Overall Value: [3.5/5]
Final Remark: It's an excellent earphone if you want what it has to offer. The midrange is excellent. The transparency and cleanliness is top notch. You just have to live with the faults. I will note that I really liked these when I first listened to them, and they do certain aspects better then most other earphones. These aren't the greatest of value. You do get a lot of product for the cost, but you don't get a lot of sound for the cost. It rolls off some on the top end and moderately on the bottom end. Effectively, it's not offering more then a good and much cheaper single BA earphone. A multi-driver earphone specifically lets you cover the entire frequency spectrum well. Otherwise there isn't much point to stepping past a single BA design. It kind of misses on its intended goal, and that's a shame because for what it does cover well, it covers really well. If you like midrange, you'll like this earphone. It just doesn't offer more extension then a single BA setup.

 

This is pulled from a previous thread of mine where I compared the IE8, Triple.Fi 10, UM3X, SE530 and OK1.

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/451954/top-tier-earphone-comparison-tf10-ie8-um3x-se530-ok1

 

Another review set I did a while ago with the Custom 3 along with the RE252, Triple.Fi 10, and OK1 as well as the CK10 at that time.

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/478784/review-small-150-200-street-price-earphone-test-group-custom-3-ck10-re252-tf10-ok1

 

If you're curious, the RE-Zero compared to the CK90Pro and DBA-02

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/512542/review-set-fischer-audio-dba-02-audio-technica-ck90pro-hifi-man-re-zero

 

And old, old review set from a couple years back which does include the SE530, UM3X, and IE8 added from the above review to some of my older earphones that I've owned and reviewed, again following ClieOS' review format:

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/369643/mini-comparison-vibe-1st-gen-c700-pk2-re0-ne-7m-pfe-er4s-ok1-tf10-um3x-se530-ie8

 

The above covers most of the things I've owned/borrowed, and most of the info I've written about them in a review format. 

post #126 of 152
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by monitor mixer View Post

Really impressed by the amount of time you've put into this (!!) but am really, truly perplexed as to why you'd use YouTube videos as your source.  If you're going to put such a massive amount of time and energy into such a project, why wouldn't you use quality listening material?  I listened to each of the videos and they all sound terrible.  It's like comparing sports cars while never taking them out of the parking lot...

 

But again, I commend your dedication.  You are indeed a wordsmith.



Don't assume Youtube videos are the only thing I'm using.  I've owned all of these earphones for several months and have listened to them through a wide variety of sources and songs.  Really the Youtube idea was me simply offering a different perspective of the listening experience, tying visual and audio together and offering something you guys can also view and listen to with your own hardware and compare.  The goal was to offer something a little more immersive in a sense, adding sight as part of the experience.  As well, my hope was that you as users of other products could listen to your different hardware and think about similar things.  How does your earphone sound with this video?  Does it carry some similarities, differences?  Does any of the earphones I've reviewed sound more fitting than what you are currently using?  I kind of wanted this to be both a comparison and upgrade tool but also offer information in a way that should hopefully create a more comprehensive understanding of something you have never personally heard.  These weren't meant to specifically test the earphones' capabilities.  I certainly agree my choices do not offer what's useful for that kind of review.  That wasn't the goal of this. 

 

It was just something new to try.  I'm not saying the material I picked is god, flawless and perfect.  It's simply stuff, stuff you can hear and see and read about and compare.  That's it.

post #127 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post

Don't assume Youtube videos are the only thing I'm using.  I've owned all of these earphones for several months and have listened to them through a wide variety of sources and songs.  Really the Youtube idea was me simply offering a different perspective of the listening experience, tying visual and audio together and offering something you guys can also view and listen to with your own hardware and compare.  The goal was to offer something a little more immersive in a sense, adding sight as part of the experience.  As well, my hope was that you as users of other products could listen to your different hardware and think about similar things.  How does your earphone sound with this video?  Does it carry some similarities, differences?  Does any of the earphones I've reviewed sound more fitting than what you are currently using?  I kind of wanted this to be both a comparison and upgrade tool but also offer information in a way that should hopefully create a more comprehensive understanding of something you have never personally heard.  These weren't meant to specifically test the earphones' capabilities.  I certainly agree my choices do not offer what's useful for that kind of review.  That wasn't the goal of this. 

 

It was just something new to try.  I'm not saying the material I picked is god, flawless and perfect.  It's simply stuff, stuff you can hear and see and read about and compare.  That's it.


I actually really enjoyed the youtube videos and personally thought that it was a great addition to the review. It allowed me to test my gear and compare to the observations you made. Very neat and very fun. It really added an entire new dimension to the review, I just felt much more involved.

 

Thanks for all your effort, greatly appreciated.

 

post #128 of 152

I have come to the same conclusion with my Triple.Fi 10s.  Yes they're not perfect, they have a bit of coloration here and there, but they're still unbelievably fun to listen to.  I used to have a pair of SE530's and I have to say after the UE's the Shure's almost sound muffled in comparison, but then again I am kind of a treble head (love my grado's).  Anyway great work on an extensive set of reviews.  Glad to hear that somebody still puts the triple.fi's up high on their list for IEMs.

post #129 of 152

wow cool

have you heard akg q350?

post #130 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post

Don't assume Youtube videos are the only thing I'm using.  I've owned all of these earphones for several months and have listened to them through a wide variety of sources and songs.  Really the Youtube idea was me simply offering a different perspective of the listening experience, tying visual and audio together and offering something you guys can also view and listen to with your own hardware and compare.  The goal was to offer something a little more immersive in a sense, adding sight as part of the experience.  As well, my hope was that you as users of other products could listen to your different hardware and think about similar things.  How does your earphone sound with this video?  Does it carry some similarities, differences?  Does any of the earphones I've reviewed sound more fitting than what you are currently using?  I kind of wanted this to be both a comparison and upgrade tool but also offer information in a way that should hopefully create a more comprehensive understanding of something you have never personally heard.  These weren't meant to specifically test the earphones' capabilities.  I certainly agree my choices do not offer what's useful for that kind of review.  That wasn't the goal of this. 

 

It was just something new to try.  I'm not saying the material I picked is god, flawless and perfect.  It's simply stuff, stuff you can hear and see and read about and compare.  That's it.


Copy that.  Thanks for clearing that up for me.  I just couldn't wrap my head around using these videos as your reference tracks, especially while putting in all that time and effort!  Again, I commend you sir.  You are dedicated.

 

post #131 of 152
Thread Starter 

Yeah, it's simply a different approach.  It's just something people haven't done, and I felt it would be neat.  Plus our minds work a little differently when we are viewing a thing with audio versus simply listening to an audio track.  We process the information in a different way which is interesting.  It's a different experience.

post #132 of 152

I do own the UM3x and your call about it's v shaped frequency response has really struck me. Almost everywhere else the response is deemed as flat. Personally i do find an slight emphasis on the bass region but overall i think that they are on the warm side of the balanced response.What dap and tips did you use with the UM3x ?

 

Having owned previously the SE530 i can see that UM3x mids can be dubbed as recessed but the other way to put it is that SE530 mids are forward. In my view both of them are on the balanced side of the frequency response since they can do sound very different depending on the recording (They can sound bass shy or put out bass in spaded depending on the music being played back. That's my concept of balanced anyway)

 

What would you choose between SE530 and the UM3x ?

 

Anyway your work and the kind of review is pretty much amazing and a great asset for the communtity. Thanks a lot


Edited by elfary - 4/19/11 at 1:09am
post #133 of 152
Thread Starter 

The SE530 is a much more balanced earphone than the UM3X.  I found the SE530 to be more realistic sounding.  The SE530 also has some of the highest dynamic range of any BA based earphones I've used.  Notes are poorly textured nor articulated well due to being very short.  It sounds squeaky clean but also slightly ghostly in its realism with information not quite fleshed out.  For some, this also makes it sound somewhat laid back despite having a very high dynamic range that should bite your head off if the notes were actually more heavily presented.  The SE530 is one of those earphones that instantly impress.  They make you go wow, this is really cool.  However, after a little while you start seeing the faults like the rolled off bottom end, recessed highs, lack of texturing, poor sound stage placement (like weirdly placed), and you start viewing other earphones as holistically being just a little bit better.

 

The UM3X is less dynamic but sounds more dynamic.  The notes are thicker, excellently textured and articulated details, and really fill out the presence well.  Authority and presence is more believable.  As well this really helps improve the sound stage to which the UM3X is really, really good at separating and individualizing sounds.  It's not the most accurate in placement as it's quite wide in spacing, but everything is very clearly placed and spaced.  The bass doesn't roll off.  Low frequency notes of techno, instruments like kettle drums,  bass guitars, and cellos all are really well pronounced and filled out.  The nice thing is frequency response can be fixed via EQing.  How notes are presented can not be changed.  The SE530 starts off more balanced, but the UM3X can become balanced.  The UM3X is better at conveying emotion and better and showing details within the music than the SE530.  Holistically, the UM3X gives you a better listening experience than the SE530. 

 

I personally prefer the UM3X over the SE530.  I kind of view the SE530 as "faulted" due to having 3 drivers (dual bass + high) and covering the audio spectrum as well as a single BA based earphone.  It shouldn't have rolled off lows and recessed highs having 3 drivers.  I mean you have the PFE which is a lot like the SE530 in some ways sitting at a fraction of the SE530's price.  I kind of view the SE530 as a more refined PFE.  They're both very dynamic earphones, both short on note, very clean. 

 

As for any other individual, it really comes down to personal preference.  It's really about what you like, what you're looking for.  For many people, the SE530 may be the preferred product.  For many it might be neither.  Maybe it's the IE8 instead, the Triple.Fi 10, or a slew of any other earphones out there.  The variation exists because the wants of the people vary that much.  You can't please everyone with one product, but you can tailor a variety of products for a variety of market segments.  I mean the SE530 is geared the way it is on purpose and hasn't changed much between the E500, SE530, and SE535 because Shure didn't want to.  They did small things to slightly tweak what people complained about but largely left the earphone the same to retain the demographic that the product fit.  Plus, they don't have much for competition in the group they are focusing.  The RE262 may be one of the only direct competitors to it, and it only just came out.  Better or not is still relative, but the RE262 does seem geared to compete against the SE530.

 

My personal ideal is simple.  I want something that sounds realistic, life-like.  I want something balanced and as close to uncolored as possible.  I want something that doesn't act odd in any way or artificially emphasizing something.  Basically I seek a natural level of things like dynamics, texturing, decay, etc where it's not over or under done, lacking, or super emphasized.  Some earphones seem to be closer than others to this goal of mine.  The most correct earphone I've used?  The CK10.  I can't say it's been my favorite though.

post #134 of 152
Thanks a bunch for such a detailed reply. Enlightening and really appreciated.

In the end i sold the SE530 because their fit and isolation were worse than the UM3x ones and because there was something wrong with the sound that i can't quite explain. I'd say they sounded too "wowisier". Plus i have pair of SE420 that isolate better and are more 'honest' in my view (and when amped are really enjoyable).

I'm very happy with the UM3x which are technically pretty remarkable in my book.
Edited by elfary - 4/20/11 at 4:31am
post #135 of 152

mvw2, thanks for a great review.  I'm just curious- what type of foam tips did you use with the RE-ZEROs? 

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › (Finished!!!) Review Set: UM3X, e-Q7, RE262, Triple.Fi 10, RE252, CK100, RE-Zero, Custom 3, OK1, HJE900