I own the monitors in question: SE 3-way Reference and thought I’d register (long time reader though) and share some impressions with you. I am a musician and a homegrown music producer, but first of all a music lover!
I was the owner of UE-10Pro for about two years till they came apart on me…Then I had ordered ACS T1’s, but I had to send them back for repair not that long ago and in the meantime I’ve decided to bite the bullet and get some Spiral Ears. I knew nothing about them till recently and it’s been only a recommendation from a well-known Polish musician which got me interested in these monitors.
A friend of mine, a musician as well, has T1’s and once he tried comparing the two: my 3-way Ref and his T1’s. It might not be a fair comparison, but due to the silicone nature of the monitors it was possible for him to achieve a good isolation and a decent fit. Maybe our ear canals are not that different after all;). Anyway, my opinion is that SE’s are definitely better than T1’s; in every regard sonically apart from fit and isolation, which are the same to my ears, to be fair- both way better than acrylics. The dynamics, instrument separation, soundstage, transients and the whole sound spectrum: the bass, the mids and the highs. T1’s are still very good overall but in direct comparison you can feel that 3-way Ref seem to be more natural sounding, though the attack/decay ratio of the two monitors seems to be more or less the same.
My friend is getting his hands on those monitors as soon as possible as he had said and I definitely do recommend giving them a try. And yes, even the universal version can blow one away. I had ordered these after listening to the universals first. As jaycam said, it truly is a reference sound for me.
I had been corresponding with Spiral Ear before ordering the monitors and they have been a great help. From what I know, the design is different from ACS in every aspect. The only similarity is in using silicone, which I personally prefer to acrylic models, both from ACS and SE. I’ve decided on custom transparent black, which is also different as offered by Spiral Ear. The electronics, as I was told, is different from top to bottom, not to mention the crossover network and acoustic solutions.
I have ordered the monitors about a month ago and there is no problem with the cable and silicone body as far as I can tell now, if anyone’s worried about it. You can feel that it’s deeply and well anchored inside the earpiece.
BTW, I have the newest version with improved highs.