So I received an unusual Sunday surprise from Canada Post today. Being quite anxious to hear my new toys I quickly snapped some photos of the box prior to unpacking and some initial photos of the IEM's. I apologize now that the pictures are not great, as I don't have the best camera in the world. Here is a quick initial impression:
Upon unpacking these I was immediately impressed with the softness of the cable and that it appeared to have some thickness to it. I also thought the carrying case was a nice stiff case that could stand the abuse of being in a pocket or purse. I then plugged them into my ears and all I can say is HEAVEN in regards to comfort! These feel so nice in the ear and due to their design they require ZERO manipulation and tricks! For me this is a blessing after constantly messing around with Monster Turbine Pro Coppers, Earsonic SM3, and Radius DDM IEM's. So does this mean they are perfect? For me a resounding YES, but if you prefer a deep insertion IEM you might hate these (they do not come with any double or triple flange tips either, just the typical small, medium, and large single flange, and 1 pair of Comply T400), but shallow insertion lovers rejoice. Microphonics are almost non existent with the IEM hanging down and non-existent if you loop the cable over the ear.
So lets get to the initial listening session.
I started out using these on my computer with my desktop amp which may have been a bit of a mistake since these are designed for lower amp sources like my iPhone and had a bit of hiss for those first couple of songs. I noticed the bass was a bit too boomy and uncontrolled. But I also noticed treble with cymbals sounding nice and present and the mid-range sounded very clear with a nice richness to it.
I then switched to my iPhone and the hissing went away and the bass actually became a bit less prominent. The treble stayed nice and present and the mid-range never changed much as well.
The first album I listened to was Blue Rodeo's, "Five Days in July", the songs were nice and easy to listen to with no sibilance but the bass was a bit boomy, they had nice treble detail and it was clear and present. Acoustic instruments also sounded very nice. The sound stage was not as big as I have heard but was reasonably large.
I then listened to Loreena McKennitt's "Elemental" and found it was clean and detailed in the upper mids and treble but found the lower mid-range and mid-bass not as detailed as other headphones and IEM's I have had. One song in particular on this album "Lullaby" has an amazing thunder storm sequence at the beginning which is an excellent detail and positioning test, the 560R handled this sequence as good as most of the IEM's I own with maybe the exception of my SM3 but I will wait until I do A/B tested between these, my SM3, Radius DDM, and my D7000. But from memory these handle this test very well and the voice of the actor later in the song is nice and rich like he should have been.
Next came Patricia Barber's "The Cole Porter Mix" I listened to "Miss Otis Regrets". The song had plenty of bass and treble but I found it missing mid-range presence like some of my other IEM's from memory.
I then switched tracks and fired up AC/DC's "Cold Heated Man", The song had tons of bass presence and nice crisp treble but again was a bit weak in the mid-range. I followed that up with "Let There be Rock" and found the same thing sonically but also focused on the speed of the music and whether the IEM could keep up and found it did as well as the best dynamic based IEM's I have owned and better than all the cheaper ones I have owned, but it could not keep up to the BA based IEM's I own or have owned.
I finished off my initial listening session with Supertramp's "Rudy" as this song has the train track sequence at the beginning which again tested detail and positioning which the 560R was very good at and the song also has piano in it which was not bad but lacked a bit of the detail I love in piano music.
So without any burn-in these sound vey solid for their price point of $89 which I paid for them. I will now do a full burnin of 80-100hrs and then do a full review with comparison testing between my others IEM's I still own, some reflection from memory of other IEM's and even a bit of comparing between these and their BIG BIG brothers the AH-D7000, so stay tuned.
OH right I questioned if these could be contenders, in the Title... I can't say for sure but these are at least going to be a good contender in their price range and they may be able to compete with more expensive bass oriented IEM's with burn-in.