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SM3 review

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

This is a review of my Earsonics SM3. If you want the short story, I never thought IEM's could sound this good for what, I think, is a great price. They are effortlessly good sounding. After you get used to them, they seem to have a flawless sound signature. Now to the real thing.


Gear used (in order of preference): uDac, uDac>Asgard, Droid


List time!


What sounded great with the SM3's:


Janie's Got a Gun - Aerosmith

Cool, cool. It's an alright song and it sound good on the SM3's. There is nothing missing. It could use a bit of soundstage but it's alright.


My Girls - Animal Collective

Great song made better with fantastic IEMs. I feel like I can hear every subtle detail and sound. The bass is nice and present. The sparkly highs are there but not a nuisance. The vocals are nice. Soundstage does seem a bit cluttered in comparison to my K702's. BUT the rest of the sound makes up for it.


Lonewolves - Converge

:O. Seemingly a poorly mastered song right? Hah! These IEMs are the most resolvent of any headphones I've heard. The soundstage is ideal for this song and others like it; it is just a wall of sound. So enjoyable...


Monster - Kanye West

I thought I would try this just to humor you guys (and myself). I was surprised. If you don't know, this is THE WORST album as far as mastering goes. I will not say these IEMs turn this rubbish/garbage/trash to bliss but it sounds better than it did on my K702's or HD650. The bass extends all the way down.


Herra Hu - Monoland

Soundstaging, bass, mids, nice gentle treble, all there. It turns music into what would sound like noise on low-fi gear. Cool, cool. 


What amazed me:


Exospacial Psionic Aura - Behold...the Arctopus:

I couldn't listen to this with my SR225i's. Nor could I with my HD650's. Same story with my K702's. The whole album (Nano-Nucleic Cyborg Summoning) has a history being called poorly mastered. The SM3s made my ears take a 180 degree turn. Wow. This song showcases how fast paced these wee delights are. Percussion sounds so beautiful. As do the guitars. Oh yeah, and the bass. This truly amazed me. 


Freedie Freeloader - Miles Davis

I listened to this and I could help but smile. They sound effortlessly good with jazz. They are very close to my K702's in this respect to the point that I'd call it a tie. Perfect sound signature.


Lake of Fire - Nirvana (from their Unplugged recording)

It is tough to pick the best sounding song off of the Unplugged album. There is no best. They all sound fantastic. The vocals are so transparent. The percussion sounds so real. Very audiophiley experience, if that is a term. 


November 25 Morning - Philip Glass

I couldn't stop listening to this. The violins just seem to appear out of nowhere. They are in front of me, behind me, and right next to me. The timpani is hovering above me. What I referred to as a wall of noise earlier turns into blissful dome of intensity and music. I was persuaded to look into more contemporary classical after this, needless to say. 




As others have said in their review of the SM3, it does take a while to get used to the sound signature on these. I don't know what it is, but just wait half an hour after you've inserted them in your ears. I had some comfort issues at first as well, but it seems my ears adjusted. 


I would say these ever-so deceptive IEMs could be used for monitoring due to their "perfect" sound signature. Everything is prominent, highs, mids, lows. everything. The soundstage is unbelievably wide for being an IEM. As you may have noticed, I didn't mention anything I was disappointed with in the review. This is because nothing was lacking. I will say that they don't have the "wow" factor. The K702's had treble. The HD650's had bass. These just have everything; there is nothing special or unique. These are also uber EQable. The bass can be adjusted to face-rattling levels. 


These don't improve much with amping in my opinion. I tried compared them with and without my Asgard, there is little change. These are also super sensitive so there was more audible buzz from my Asgard than from my other headphones. 



While they are amazing, I think I am going back to full sized. These are not so comfortable after 5+ hours. 




Edited by mralexosborn - 2/19/11 at 4:00pm
post #2 of 29

strange review,they do nothing great,you are satisfied...but they are amazing?

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

They are great all-arounders. I haven't come across a headphone that is so technically proficient with all genres. I would recommend it, especially at the price I got it. 

post #4 of 29

Glad that you enjoy it as much as I did. I'm now waiting for some stuff before I'll try letting the K702 sing for me beerchug.gif

post #5 of 29

Haha I clicked on this expecting a full-blown out review.

Take your time, no sweat.

post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 

I just got a mic too. HiFi/Gaming/IEM setup FTW!

post #7 of 29
Originally Posted by mralexosborn View Post

They are great all-arounders. I haven't come across a headphone that is so technically proficient with all genres. I would recommend it, especially at the price I got it. 


If you don't mind me asking, where'd you buy them from, and at what price? 

post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 

I traded my K702's for them. He bought them online through some Singaporean retailer. I think at their price new though, it isn't too bad. Overpriced considering you can get customs for the price though, but that's not an option for me, at least not for another year. I will try to post a review during the weekend. 

post #9 of 29

Could you give some comparisons between the SM3 x k702 and HD650 ?

I'm planning on going for headphones, and they're top in my list.

post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 

Sure, I don't have the K702's or the HD650's on hand but I can say I remember pretty well what they sound like. The K702's and HD650's were out of my uDac>Asgard.


SM3 vs K702-

The K702 has far wider soundstage and beautiful sparkly treble. It's mids are a tad recessed but that is forgivable with tracks without vocals. They lack bass, EQ does not solve this. Aggressive genres (i.e. metal) sound a little odd and spaced out. 

The SM3 has less sparkle and clarity. They have nice controlled bass. Mids are nice. Everything is just right. Not perfect, but just right. The soundstage is not as wide but that's okay.


SM3 vs HD650-

The HD650 is pretty perfect. The main problem would be that they are very "dark". They don't have great treble; it's just there. Bass is amazing and is EQable to thunder. Mids are good. They are ideal for most genres. 

The SM3 has MUCH better treble. The mids are about on par. The bass is not as thunderous but it still is very EQable. They soundstage is about equal. The SM3s sometimes had me convinced I had speakers. I feel the bass throughout. Very realistic.


HD650 vs K702-

They are about equal to each other. They just have different "specialties". The HD650 is good all around (especially electronic and the like) while the K702 sounds far better with classical, jazz, or acoustic. 


Comfort-wise? The HD650 is ideal. The K702's headband is tad annoying and require a bit of adjusting every so often. The SM3 is a tight fit with small ears but not terribly uncomfortable. 

post #11 of 29

Thanks, that is very useful.

I'm leaning towards the HD650 since I do get tired quite fast with bright-ish headphones.

post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

They are very sensitive. My uDac overpowers them. I fixed this by adding my Fiio E5 to the mix. It sounds a bit better since the uDac has a channel imbalance at low volumes. It degrades the sound quality a bit. 

post #13 of 29

cool. Waiting for a full review.

post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 

Meh, I am waiting for inspiration. 

post #15 of 29

a very straight to the point review from Mr Alex

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