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[Review] Impressions of the Sony EX1000 versus the FX700, GR10 and e-Q5

post #1 of 3029
Thread Starter 

Tagline
If you want your music hard, aggressive and unforgiving, then skip the EX1000 - they're hopelessly romantic. Otherwise you may just have found your perfect IEMs.

 

Links

Here's a link to tuahogary's YouTube Re-Unboxing video and here are his early impressions.

Here's a link to DjAmTraX's EX1000 thread, featuring a YouTube unboxing video.

Here's a link to kelv's A/B impressions for Shure se535 and Sony mdr-ex1000.

Here's a link to k3oxkjo's EX1000 review.

Here's a link to MaxwellDemon's EX1000 review.

Here's my provisional comparison to the Westone 4.

Here's a link to music_4321's impressions of the EX1000, including a comparison to the Westone 4.

Here's a link to 3602's impressions of the EX1000, including a comparison to the EX600 and IE8.

Here's a link to joker's review of the EX1000.

Here's a link to Duncan's impressions of the EX1000, including a comparison to the ZX700 and Z1000.

Here's a link to Tyll Hertsens' review of the EX1000 and EX600, including comprehensive measurements of both IEMs.

Here's a link to mark2410's review of the EX1000.

 

There's also a Sony MDR EX1000 Appreciation/Discussion Thread which can be found here.

 

EX1000 loaner tour

I'm loaning my EX1000 to some fellow members to get more opinons. Here's an up-to-date overwiew of the loaner tour with links to where folks started posting their impressions.

 

Kunlun -> Anaxilus -> Confispect -> ericp10 -> Daanish -> Inks -> mvw2

 

Note: you can also scroll down to post #2 to read selected quotes from the loaner tour feedback.

 

Acknowledgement

Thanks to Mike from Headfonia for his excellent review that got me interested in the first place. I won't even try to cope with all the technical mumbo-jumbo he's telling, but I found his sound descriptions (on page 2) pretty much spot-on.

 

ex1000_01.jpg

 

Technology/Manufacturer specs

Single 16mm dynamic driver with liquid crystal polymer diaphragm

Magnesium alloy housing

Impedance: 32Ω

Sensitivity: 108dB

Weight: 7g w/o cord

Long and short detachable cords included

 

Price paid

About $500

Bought via Musica Acoustics

 

In the Box

For the rather hefty price you get a classy looking cardboard box that holds the phones, a generous selection of silicon tips, a carrying case and a short spare cable. Sorry for omitting to take a picture of the box and case, but you can see the case in the Headfonia review. It looks (and smells) like real leather and has a practical size. Stowing away the phones is a time-consuming task, though you could just ditch the red inlay if you're the impatient type.

 

The short spare cable is a heaven-sent accessory for folks like me who like to carry their DAPs in a breast/shirt pocket. Back then I waited three months and paid premium for the optional IE8 short cable, so finding this already included with the Sonys was kinda like Christmas and Easter at the same time.

 

Oh, and last but not least I present to you the most generous selection of tips I've ever come across, all of them useless for my ears. But we'll come to that later...

 

ex1000_02.jpg

 

Design and build quality

Almost everything about these phones screams quality, from the lightweight and sturdy magnesium alloy housing to the soft and flexible ear guides and high quality cables that are somehow reminiscent of the IE8's and similarly unsusceptible to tangling. Moreover, everything seems very well thought out: using soft material instead of stiff wires for the ear guides. Securing the detachable cables with a screw-nut (though it has to be said the proprietary connector is a bit fiddly. A chin slider that really stays in place. I'd really like to see some of these audiophile companies (*cough* FAD *cough*) put half as much thought into usability as a mainstream player like Sony. Though admittely these are no mainstream phones...

 

Y-splitter with chin slider and straight plug (short cable):


ex1000_03.jpg

ex1000_04.jpg

 

(I won't comment on that "China" tag, but presumably some of you will ;-)

 

Contrary to the short cable, that's obviously designed to be used with some microphone accessory to make phone calls, the long standard cable has an L-shaped plug. I didn't take pictures of it, but you can see one in fellow Head-Fier kelv's post here, together with lots of useful infos and comparisons to the EX600 and EX800. Great research, thanks!

 

Though you can wear the EX1000 downwards, I believe they are designed solely for over-ear (the ear guides being integrated into the cables). I have no issues with microphonics that way.

 

Fit and Isolation (aka "big ears, no-go")

Well, you can tell I was pretty impressed by the looks of these IEMs and wealth of included accessories, but that pretty much vanished into thin air when I actually tried to put them on. I have to stress that I'm quite unused to fit problems from my previous IEMs, so the Sonys were an unpleasant surprise. Sparing you a lengthy report about agonizing hours of trying - bottom line, I finally had to admit that I couldn't get a seal with any of the 10 pairs of included tips. Why? I honestly don't know, it certainly has to to with my rather big ears and wide canals, though I've never experienced anything like that before. Moreover, the Sony Hybrids are my favorite tips with several other IEMs. Yet together with their own EX1000 they stubbornly denied me a good seal.

 

To be fair, my experience is most certainly a rare personal issue, some unlucky mismatch of housing/nozzle design and ear anatomy. My trusty old UE silicons and de-cored Olives didn't work either. Here's what I finally struck gold with, after hours of desperate trying:

 

ex1000_05.jpg

 

^ Eureka, the hand-crafted, ultra rare James444 "megaphone tips"! Patent pending. Finally a decent seal with the EX1000.

 

Ok dude, cut it short - who's interested in your Dumbo ears anyway! How's isolation? Sorry to say, only acceptable. Even with a good seal these phones isolate less than average, compared to a GR10 or e-Q5/7 and much less than a SE530. But on the other hand better than my FX700 or DDMs. So considering these are vented dynamic IEMs, isolation isn't altogether bad. I've been using them on the subway and (contrary to the FX700) can live with their isolation for commuting.

 

One last word about fit, once you have them in they stay put, due to their angled design and well-designed ear guides. They should be suitable for running or any kind of sports activity.

 

Update: dfkt pointed out to me that the EX1000 are very prone to wind noise, and he's right. I happened to wear a beanie during my first winter weeks with the Sonys, therefore I didn't notice. Anyway, these can get pretty annoying (depending on wind force) and are definitely not recommended for cycling.

 

Sound quality:
Disclaimer/words of caution: I don't hear much above 16kHz, so take my comments about highs with a grain of salt. Moreover, the tips I use are as non-standard as it gets, so if my impressions deviate from yours it might be due to them. I have no means of telling how these phones would sound with their stock tips.

 

I've had the EX1000 for about a week now and spent a considerable amount of time comparing them my other IEMs, like the FX700, GR10 and e-Q5. Though I usually wait at least to weeks before posting my reviews, I decided to be earlier this time because there seems to be a strong demand for more info on the Sonys. Since there hasn't been any noteworthy burn-in effect or other significant change of sound characteristics during the last week, I feel reasonably safe in doing so.

 

All music was auditioned unequalized straight out of my Cowon i9. I discontinued my prior habit of repeating the audition with a second source, because tbo I've never noticed a significant difference in the past. Here are some of the songs I picked and the listening notes I made:

 

Al Stewart – Hipposong (Famous Last Words, Folk/Rock)

Those of you who've read my earlier reviews may already know that I'm an avowed fan of the Singer/Songwriter Al Stewart, so let's kick this off with one of his ingenious songs. There’s some nice tuba on this track, illustrating the hippo’s ungainly waddle. (Don’t know why that song always comes to mind right after the holiday season ;-)

 

I was surrounded by a large hippopotamus
And nine of its friends who declared quite a lot of us
Are feeling rather blue
And we don't know what to do
I turned away but the large hippopotamus
Said that his pit of despair appeared bottomless
Yet hippopotami
Are not supposed to cry
I said "My, my,
Other people's problems do get tedious by and by
My, my
You can never solve them no matter how hard you try."

 

This brought a tear from the large hippopotamus
Who said in a voice that was growing monotonous
You cannot get the sense
Of how it feels to be immense
The sleek and the slim make fun of a lot of us
And creatures who fly through the air sit on top of us
Even in the pool
We are faced with ridicule
I said "My, my
Other people's problems do get tedious by and by
My, my
you can never solve them no matter how hard you try."

 

I came back as a large hippopotamus.

 

EX1000:

Nice! Very lifelike alternating deep tuba bass and tambourine percussion with Al’s nasal voice right in the middle. I know exactly how this unique voice oughta sound like and the Sonys are spot-on. Timbre on these phones seems to be excellent, as is detail resolution. What’s there of acoustic guitar in this short song sounds pretty good too, but this is only a short warm-up. Let’s move on... oh, one more thing: presentation feels very transparent and 3D, like being right there next in front of Al.

FX700:

I wear the JVCs with a loose seal since they have less bass and better balanced mids that way. Having said that, bass has still easily the same quantity as the EX1000’s. The Sony’s have strikingly good texture and the JVCs seem only a tad below in this regard, though still awesome. Tambourine percussion on the other hand is noticably more forward and Al’s vocals are slightly tipped towards brightness. With the FX700 being my current king of timbre, I predict this is going to be an interesting fight for the throne. Acoustic guitar is as natural as on the Sonys and I’d say detail is on par too. Transparency and soundstage are similarly pleasing, which is quite a soundstage accomplishment for the Sonys since the JVC’s are more open and less isolating.

GR10:

Again nice bass texture from the tuba, while weight is a tad below the former two. Tambourine sounds very clear, though maybe a tiny bit more simplistic compared to the JVCs and Sonys. This is something I keep observing with moving armatures, their treble appears ever so slightly less refined as compared to the best dynamics. Nevertheless the difference is minute and the Grados hold their own very well. Al’s voice has realistic timbre and acoustic guitar sounds natural with impressive detail. Excellent transparency and airiness are a treat as well with the GR10, only soundstage is slightly smaller than with the Sonys and JVCs.

e-Q5:

No big surprise here, these sound like GR10 siblings. Good bass texture, but compared to the two dynamics in this contest they definitely hit with smaller boxing gloves. Highs, overall timbre and detail are more or less a spitting image of the Grados, while soundstage seems maybe a tad more generous, but still not up to JVC/Sony level.

 

Ok, enough of this repetitive tuba waddling, I’m feeling rather dizzy now. Next up is my pretty badassed sibilance test…

 

Stacey Kent – So many Stars (Breakfast on the Morning Tram, Female Vocal Jazz)

A wonderful atmospheric recording featuring a gorgeous voice and nice sparkly cymbals, regretfully spoilt by bad mastering. It has sibilance written all over it and even occasional clipping artefacts. So let’s hear how the contestants are going to handle thisssss…

 

EX1000:

Wow, you shall not jump to conclusions based on frequency response graphs! I’d have expected the Sonys to be aggressively sibilant, yet they handle this song with surprising grace and forgiveness. Nevertheless there’s no compromise in treble detail and extension, and rendering of cymbals sounds extremely realistic – how do they do that? Granted, their sparkle may not be on CK10 level, but these were heavily sibilant with this track when I had them. Hats off to the EX1000, I believe I’ve never heard a pair of IEMs that sound better with this difficult track.

FX700:

Ok, that’s more like I thought the Sonys would fare … “ssso many starsss” … “ssso many songsss” … ok, I’m exaggerating, but the JVCs are significantly less forgiving than the Sonys. Cymbals sparkle only a tiny bit more and they seem to be pretty much on par in treble detail and extension (both excellent), which makes the EX1000 all the more impressive.

GR10:

Not much surprise with these, all moving armatures I’ve heard are rather forgiving with sibilant recordings despite their great clarity and the Grados are no exception. If I were nitpicking I’d say they’re still more prone to it than the Sonys, but I am not … wait - did she just sing “starss”? Cymbals sparkle very nicely, still their rendering isn't quite as realistic and slightly less detailed than on the former phones. As for sound signature, Stacey’s voice sounds a few degrees cooler with the GR10 than with both dynamics. Not a striking difference, because both the EX1000 and FX700 aren’t overly warm in the first place, but noticable.

e-Q5:

Why on earth did I redundantly include both these and the GR10? Alright, because folks wanted a comparison – well it will take better ears than these to work out the nuances between them. There’s again slightly more ambience with the Ortofons over the Grados, but this could easily be due to different fit. Cymbal sparkle is maybe also ever so slightly more pronounced. The rest of the sound signature, as well as sibilance levels, are the same to my ears (meaning equally enjoyable).

 

So how do these phones fare with older recordings? Let’s find out with one of my favorite tracks of all time…

 

Joni Mitchell – In France They Kiss On Main Street (Shadows and Light, Folk/Jazz)

One of the musically most impressive live recordings in my collection, a gathering of six equally brilliant musicians on stage. If you haven’t heard it already, go check it out. Jaco’s bass playing alone is worth the whole record, but the others don’t fall short in any way.

 

EX1000:

The song kicks off and almost instantly toes start tapping, head bobbing. Resistance is futile, lol! The Sony’s bass is something to behold, fast, deep and with just the right quantity and quality! Sorry dear Ortofons, I’m afraid these here are going to take over from you the title for best bass I’ve ever heard… they go quite a bit deeper and have equally great texture. Not a trace of bleeding into the mids... Speaking of which, mids are slightly warm and forward, very smooth. Same smoothness goes for the highs, I second Mike@Headfonia's impression that Sony have intentionally tuned these phones to sound smooth and non-fatiguing while at the same time not compromising in detail and overall sound quality. Presumably something similar to what Earsonics had in mind with their SM3, yet those have thicker mids and less forward treble compared to the EX1000. A question of personal preference no doubt, but I prefer the EX1000. Oh and btw, soundstage is grand, just like on the SM3 but with more forward projection - yet you're still pretty close to the musicians. While I frequently would feel like being placed on stage by the SM3s, the EX1000 seem to offer me a first row seat.

FX700:

Wow, the JVCs belch out an equally infectious groove, though their bass has a tiny bit more emphasis on the upper regions and texture is slightly less defined. Still excellent bass though and nicely separated from the mids. I don't think mids are recessed on the FX700 (as some say), at least not with my loose seal. Joni's voice is clear and has great timbre. Having said that the Sonys are definitely a bit more forward, but I'm not missing anything with the JVCs either. Highs are where I hear the biggest (but still not vast) difference, the FX700 sound more aggressive. Mostly noticable in Pat Metheny's guitar, though he's not exactly renowned for aggressive playing, lol. But the Sony's were buttery smooth and you get the picture, for really beefy electric guitars you'd probably pick these over them.

GR10:

Bass is again one or two notches lighter than on the Sonys, but its excellent texture provides still enough incentive for toe-tapping. The Grados are very clean and transparent and render the song in a slightly more analytical manner than the EX1000. That's not to say that the Sonys are missing out detail, they just seem to present music more as a whole, whereas the GR10 keep calling your attention to detail. Of course their slightly brighter sound signature is partly responsible for that. Mids are still a tad more forward (or just clearer?) than the Sony's and highs are somewhere between these and the JVCs, as far as aggression is concerned.

e-Q5:

Though the Ortofons sound pretty similar to the Grados again, I keep getting the impression that their bass does hit half a notch harder. Might be their rigid aluminum housing vs. the GR10's half-plastic, or just my imagination, I'm not entirely sure. Whatever the difference, it's definitely negligible compared to the dynamics, who have both more quantity and extension at the low end. The mids are pretty much identical to the Grados in my book, whereas treble seems slightly less aggressive with this song. If I had to rate treble aggression it would be FX700 > GR10 > e-Q5 > EX1000 with very minor differences for each step.

 

Ok, enough from those heavyweights of music history, let's put on some lighter stuff now...

 

Marina and the Diamonds – Obsessions / Hollywood (The Family Jewels,Pop/New Wave)

My favourite pop record of 2010. Strong rhythms, lots of keyboards and Marina’s unique voice make for a highly attractive mix. She played such a great concert in Vienna, while I stood there amongst all these kids less than half my age, feeling both happy and out of place at the same time.

 

EX1000:

Omg, I'm really smitten by these Sonys, they have wonderful timbre with vocals! Marina's singing style is varied and at times close to acrobatic, yet the EX1000 follow each of her vocal bends and curves with natural ease. Bass and drums stay nicely separated from the voice and when the synths set in they wrap everything into a fluffy silk cocoon - but even then detail remains highly intact and nothing gets smeared or smothered. Speaking of synths, the Sony's supersmooth rendering fit's them exceptionally well, at least if you (like me) prefer a more romantic presentation. Last but not least a very good soundstage and ambience are the icing on the cake with this kind of music. Did I mention that I'm impressed?

FX700:

Ok, the JVCs strike back nicely, yet I can't help but admit that I liked the Sonys just a tad better. While soundstage and ambience are pretty much at eye level, the EX1000's bass is even slightly more impressive and infectious. Synths sound a tad less smooth and fluffy and more edgy on the FX700 - alright, that's a personal preference thing. But timbre! I'm having a hard time believing that the FX700's timbre can be bettered, yet here side by side the Sonys sound even more natural and absolutely wonderful. Sorry dear JVCs, my long time timbre favourites, but this round goes to the EX1000.

GR10:

Not bad in any way, but the GR10's presentation is slightly less dynamic, emotional and infectious than the Sony's. This song is driven by bass and drums and these just sound a bit more spectacular with the dynamics. On the other hand tiny details like e.g. some background whispering from both sides are easier to make out on the Grados. Same goes for the synths, they're nowhere near as supersmooth as with the Sonys, but separation of vocals and rhythm instruments remains perfectly clear even after the keyboards set in. There's slightly less warmth to the voice, a little less naturalness, but timbre is still very good. I'm sure I'd miss nothing about this song if I solely heard it with the Grados, however the EX1000 left me spellbound.

e-Q5:

Pretty close to the Grados (am I repeating myself?), but this time I'm sure the e-Q5 have slightly more bass punch. Drums have definitely more impact and the groove feels more infectious than with the GR10. Moreover the synths are also a bit more airy which I prefer with this song. Still these are small differences between very similar phones and comparing both to the Sonys the differences are much more pronounced. Bottom line, what's been said for the GR10 vs. the EX1000 would apply here as well.

 

Well, so let's conclude the audition with something a little bit more serious...

 

Gustav Mahler – Movements IV+V (Symphony #2 "Resurrection" [Rattle], Classical)

Not much to say about this, except that it's one of my dearest classical pieces. From faintly hushed passages to thunderous full orchestra blasts, dissonant crashes to heavenly harmonies, this one has everything. A tour de force in emotion and dynamics, superbly recorded, a formidable challenge for any headphone.

 

EX1000:

Stunningly transparent, natural and lifelike. Timbre is very very realistic. Moreover, the EX1000 manage to create absolutely convincing ambience. Closing my eyes I can easily picture myself in a concert hall. Mike from Headfonia made a remark about the Sony's imaging being “all over the place”, one of the few things in his review I can't quite relate to. To my ears the placement of instruments is very precise both in width and depth. May be due to my special tips, who knows ;-) But then again he was comparing to the JH16 and I haven't heard these. Back to the music, the Sonys have me spellbound again. They scale most impressively with the piece's extreme dynamics and in doing so manage to sound almost like fullsized headphones, very likely due to their 16mm drivers. I didn't bring the FI-BA-SS into this comparison and I'm pretty sure those have higher detail resolution, but it will be interesting to see whether they can cope with the EX1000 in dynamics (I guess they won't). Speaking of detail, again the Sonys do not draw your attention to anything in particular, but aren't missing out anything either. Thereby they remind me a bit of the IE8, all the detail is there but you have to look for it.

FX700:

Classical is where the JVCs feel at home. They sound equally natural as the Sonys to my ears and I honestly can't say which of them has better timbre here - and that's a big compliment to the EX1000. If pressed I'd say the EX1000 feel even a tiny bit more lifelike, but both are nothing less than brilliant with this record. The FX700's 10mm driver is able to scale admirably with dynamic music because of their generous vents, but I think in the end the Sonys would have even more brute force up their sleeve. Talking about decidedly unhealthy volume levels though... Ok, no need to go into more detail, let's just call it a draw between the JVCs and Sonys in timbre, ambience and soundstage with very slight advantage to the Sonys in transparency and dynamics.

GR10:

First thing that comes to mind is clarity. Now, both the JVCs and Sonys are absolutely not veiled, but these moving armatures have a striking clarity and crispness in their presentation that suits classical music particularly well. These are perfect phones for analytical listening that nevertheless convey a lot of emotion. Where they do fall a bit short in comparison is ambience and soundstage, they're just not that much out-of-head and 3D like. Dynamics are pretty impressive for such a tiny phone, as the GR10 are able to cope with ear splitting volume. There just not as effortless in doing so as the Sonys and JVCs and sound a little bit strained when things get extremely loud and busy. More analytical listeners than me may still prefer the GR10 over the EX1000, but I'm a soundstage junkie, so I'd pick the Sonys.

e-Q5:

A noticably wider soundstage than the GR10, but take this with a grain of salt, because soundstage is often dependent on tips and fit. Still I like the Ortofons slightly better than the Grados with this classical piece. They're a tiny bit less light-footed with a more substantial low end, which makes their presentation a tad less analytical and more powerful. Minute differences of course, but they're noticable. Yet during those thunderous full force orchestra blasts they also tend to feel a bit strained and breathless, just like their technological siblings, the GR10. But just to put things into perspective, notwithstanding their individual strengths and weaknesses I'd rate all of these four phones as highly enjoyable with classical music.

 

ex1000_06.jpg

 

Final thoughts / Conclusion

I like the EX1000 and I like them very much. In the beginning they were a nightmare for me to get a good seal with and in the end they turned out being a so much better phone than I'd dared hope for. Perhaps what they are now to me has it's explanation in those weird tips that finally are able to give me a good seal, I don't know. But it's a fact that I've not experienced the sibilance that was to be expected from this frequency response graph and that others have reported. To the contrary, with my tips and to my ears the Sony's treble is amongst the most forgiving and refined I've ever heard. Moreover, I haven't found them having too fast decay like I've read elsewhere, with pianos or strings sounding lifeless. To the contrary, even though they're (like the FX700) pretty fast for dynamic drivers, they're full of life and extremely natural to my ears. Again, all this may well be tip related in some strange way. Like I've said before I have no means of telling how they would sound with stock tips.

 

I've never been a big fan of Sony IEMs, skipped most of their past phones and the EX1000 was nothing but an impulse buy after reading the Headfonia review, with only limited expectations. However, within a single week these IEMs managed to take over my title for best bass from the e-Q7 and best timbre from the FX700. Time to admit that Sony can build pretty good IEMs if they want.

 

But hold on, before we're kicking off a new FOTM I tell you once again what they are not: analytical, revealing, aggressive, unforgiving. I'd recommend these neither to the audiophile equivalents of pixel peepers, nor to the headbangers who want their guitars to sound like chain saws. Sorry folks, the Sonys just won't cut it for you. They're hopelessly romantic, smooth, soft, mellow, musical. However, if you happen to be into this kind of sound signature, you may just have found your perfect IEMs. smile_phones.gif


Edited by james444 - 6/23/13 at 11:51am
post #2 of 3029
Thread Starter 

EX1000 loaner tour feedback:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kunlun View Post

I've had a few days to listen to the Sony Ex1000 so I thought I'd throw in a few comments.

 

First, I've been listening via custom-fit tips, which are almost a must on the ex1000, at least for me. Hopefully that has given me a chance to really hear the ex1000's sound without concern for fit. I've listened out of my 5.5 gen ipod + ttvj slim mostly and a bit out of my home system amped by an indestructable beloved old onkyo. The ttvj slim has a nice synergy with the sony.

 

I'm really enjoying these! They are nicely detailed, and their slightly treble or upper mid focus brings an impression of clarity to the sound. Mike from headfonia describes the sound pretty much as I hear it http://www.headfonia.com/japanese-flagship-sony-mdr-ex1000/2/, except that I hear the soundstage as being nicely coherent as well as spacious. Maybe the bottom line is that I could see most people being very happy with these. I think rather than weaknesses, there are mainly just differences in taste that might lead a person to this or another top universal fit earphone (with isolation being a key thing that should be considered). The sound is a little more thin compared to warmer iems, that's not a criticism, just an observation. The bass is reasonable and I like the texture and clarity in the bass and overall. One reviewer on head-fi was claiming great sub-bass (maybe in comparison to the ba-driven competition?) which is not true at all, but it's really quite nice.It does lack extension when compared to the very capable bass of the Future Sonics universal fit Atrio and custom MG6Pro Ear Monitor, but that's to be expected. I don't have my mtpcs at the moment, but I think the ex1000 and mtpc would make a good comparison.

 

Even custom-fit tips seem to not fit as well on the ex1000, that's the power of their anti-ergonomic design! I think that's really just the venting and isolation that gives this impression, though. The isolation is not a strength of these, and I'm fairly tolerant of vented dynamics.

 

These really aren't subway iems. I've been thinking about that as I compared them to the mg7-driver FS Atrio (with FS Softerwear custom sleeves) and it's more than just the isolation. The ex1000 has a thinner sound, less warmth and a more treble emphasis with a bass that lacks the depth robustness of the Atrio. This sound sig isn't quite as suited to subway or outside background noise and sounds a little less engaging and less focused on the midrange than the Atrio. The north of center emphasis on the sony also makes them slightly less real sounding than the Atrio. However, the Sony does sound more delicate and refined in a quiet environment.

 

The Sony ex1000 will definitely appeal to those who like a refined, clear sound and have a quiet place to really enjoy them. They deserve to be considered by anyone looking for top-tier universal-fit iems.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

Okay, I've been having a listen to these for the past few days.  Not too much different from my initial impressions in January.  It's the best dynamic IEM I've heard next to the FX700 for sure and they both take different approaches.  I definitely have a solid seal and fit after much tip play.  Using some UE silicone single flanges pushed in as deep as possible w/ a nice solid, comfy seal.  The best fit I've gotten from a 'Discus' IEM I've gotten yet.  As great as it sounds my two main complaints still remain.

 

1-The bass is not as thin as I heard in January but it is a smidge under accurate quantity to my ears.  It is not bass light at all, it's very good.  Well extended, textured, present, detailed, impactful.  Needs just a hair more body IMO.  Really only a fraction.  Nit picking here.  If you listen to mostly acoustic you would prob never notice.  Electronic and synth pop do better at revealing this.

 

2-Likewise the slight glare around 6-7khz.  Using both my DACPort and 602 I can't get rid of the upper mid/lower treble splashiness.  Snares, High hats, sometimes female vocals are just too much.  The 602 does better as it does w/ the GR07 but it's still there.  Once you notice it you can't really let go and it's all too apparent afterward.  I'm beginning to think that both the GR07 and EX1000 were voiced w/ Asian languages in mind as this seems to be quite common wrt this target market.

 

For the original $600 I stand by my claim that I would not consider them.  They would need to smooth out the upper freqs for my taste.  The bass is more than adequate and rewarding.  At $300-$400 they are definitely worthy of consideration.  They easily compete w/ the likes of the FX700, 530, SM3 and surpass each in their own respective ways.  

 

Are they as good as my IERM or ES5?  Not in my opinion.  Both are better balanced and more neutral.  The IERM is much more oriented toward micro detail and clarity, recording accuracy and monitoring.  The ES5 is more dynamic w/ more realistic life-like timbre and precise 3D imaging where instruments just appear in front of you.  The mids are also more lush and everything is just more natural sounding.  ES5 vocals and strings are to die for.  The EX1000 does come close to the strings of the ES5 though.  The EX1000 does beat the IERM in bass presentation by offering a more complete, coherent and extended sound but the IERM does come close to the EX1000 by offering a comparable full bodied low end presence that actually sounds a bit fuller but more mid bassy.  The ES5's low end sounds thicker than both but less mid bassy with better impact than both but still loses to the EX1000 on extension and low end balance.  Both the IERM and ES5 are more resolving except where the EX1000 can put it's 16mm driver to use.  For example, on both it's much easier for me to tell if a song was mastered from analog tapes originally.  From about 50hz on up they both beat the EX1000 in almost every way.  

 

I'll be giving the EX1000 more ear time this week before they move on to their next destination.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

K, pumping the sonic juice through both today.  So far, the EX1000 loses out to the EX600 in nothing except perhaps one thing but more later on that.  When pushed the Ex600 is decidedly less refined, articulate and liquid.  Decidedly in the way I use it of course.  Instrument separation, imaging, micro detail, it's all much clearer and more refined on the 1000.  As suspected the bass comments from yesterday are off.  The 600 has nothing on the 1000 in the low end.  So yes the 600 is 95% of the 1000, in sound signature.  But in performance I feel its more like 75-85% depending on how you weight various aspects.  For me it's about 75%.  The 600 is still only two days old however, the 1000 is well run in.  

 
Now for the exception.  You might not like this but take it as you like.  I noticed the EX1000 sounded really good today w/ none of that splashiness and treble peak that was fatiguing me all the previous times.  I figured I got used to the sound or the drivers loosened up after a few days of exercise.  Dynamic drivers actually can return to a 'resting form' after much disuse btw.  There is supported research to this fact.  I looked down and remembered I had swapped the 600 and 1000 cables when playing with them.  I reverted them back and the issues I had w/ the ex1000 seemed to return.  Oh the fatigue!  Call it expectation bias or whatever but that's how it sounds to me.  I'm going to do more testing but so far I prefer the 1000 w/ the 600 cable which would be good being that I'm in the US we get the 'cheap' 600 cable on the 1000.
 
Edit - Bad news.  The cable does make a difference to my ears.  The fatigue and peak is gone.  This is now the near perfect and best of all the universals I've heard.  If I had swapped the cables back in January I would have given these a gigantic thumbs up!  I can listen to these endlessly now and the balance and tonality is spot on.  Time to wait for a sale or the 7550.  Unless something happens w/ burn-in the EX600 will be going back, not for me.
 
Testing done via DACPort > Arrow 4G default settings.  Both EX600 and EX1000 plugged into the dual output jacks of the Arrow simultaneously.  Same UE single flange silicone tips on both sets.
 
Note - I also tried dfkt's suggestion about pushing tips beyond the stopper on the nozzle.  Did so on both sets and worked out great.  Highly recommended.   
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

Well, lets not confuse the general character of the EX1000's treble w/ a peak or two that some might be more sensitive to than others.

 

The cable swap only seemed to remove that annoying peak for me, nothing else.  It doesn't make the EX1000 sound like an Orpheus.  Still sounds like an EX1000.  So yes I prefer the cheaper, crappier cable from the EX600 over the pricier EX1000 cable.  I've AB'd them 3x's now so I must have massive expectation bias.  wink.gif  I like listening to music w/o discomfort, call me crazy.  

 

Yes, a poor seal on the EX1000 will really thin out the bass and the peaks will rape your ears.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

I have to make my official announcement.  EX1000>MDR7550>EX600.  Period, the end.  The EX1000 just has better clarity, air, separation, micro detail, ambience and dynamic range.  Oh well.  Sending all the phones on their respective ways.

 

Lol!  According to Amazon, people who bought the EX1000 also bought the following:

 

5189iTSsNyL._SL500_SS140_.jpg51aILz7zUZL._SL500_SS140_.jpg

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Confispect View Post

These are superb and definitely top tier I feel when you get to these levels the only difference is presentation there is no detail missing, no extra resolution, no bad treble to be found in any or most top-tiers I have heard my impressions are as follows.

 

 

Presentation. Only the parts with a difference in each is noted, there is no difference in quality all are equal its all about how each decides to present itself. The stupid SM3 is collecting dust ever since the Atrio came along so it won't be mentioned. The Panasonic HJE900 doesn't even deserve to be on this list and is probably is going to go up for sale because of it.

 

Treble: Fx700 >Atrio > Ex1000 - Preference.

Soundstage: Fx700 > Ex1000> Atrio

Separation > Ex1000 > Atrio = Fx700

Speed: Atrio > Fx700 > Ex1000

 

That is really all that needs to be provided anything unlisted is because they are all the same or not enough difference to be noted. For instance all 3 mids are represented nicely vocals differ the biggest from the 3 with the SonyEx1000 taking the cake followed by the Atrio MG7. Mid placement the Fx700 a little more recessed, the Atrio is just right, the Ex1000 is a bit upfront. Going back to the taking the cake part it's not a quality difference is more how it's presented the SonyEx1000 come with ultra real vocals the Atrio to me sound a bit flatter and natural but the vocals sing more with the SonyEx1000. Mids where not mentioned because theres not a big enough difference in any of the three above it the presentation is what will make or break the decision.

 

Now for the negatives I have a annoyance with snares on the Sony and almost anything upper treble is f'ing annoying I almost ripped them out of my head. These are definitely top-tier picking between the 3 would be probably one of the hardest things you would have to do it comes down to fit, isolation and build quality and a diff presentation of each. The SonyEx1000 is the most comfortable they disappear you don't even know their, there the build quality is the equal to or close to the Panasonic HJE900. The cord is even better long and soft, supple I'd say these are one of the best cords around besides maybe the thick Eterna cord. Negative for the Atrio is it's cord and fit they both suck im in the minority but my word stands.

 

I pronounce these the 3 best I've heard. My preference leans towards the Atrio Mg7 then Fx700 then Ex1000.

 

One thing I want to note amongst all things is that the way the Ex1000 presents detail I find it annoying but unique it takes the micro-details and puts them forward and slightly places the main details farther back or a bit to the side. Weird.

 

Now to agree and disagree with a couple of things said.

 

Dfkt: Puts more of the details in your ear as opposed to the SM3 and or other (Agreed)

James: Romantic* (Agreed)

I2: Prefers the Fx700 (Agreed) The Atrio MG7 FOTM is slowly dieing (Disagree) - If anything it made me want to reach for them more.

Everyone: Isolation not the best (Disagree) Compared to the Fx700 on the isolation front I'd take these any day for some reason they isolate a lot to my ears except wind.

Kunlun: Violin sounds better* vs Atrio MG7 (Agreed)

Erip-P: SonyEx600 do acoustic guitars good**

 

Extra Note:

 

James* (Romantic)

 

For impressions I would stray from using a word like romantic but if there was any IEM that could fit the profile it would be the SonyEx1000. More below.

 

Kunlun* (Violins sound better) 

 

When Kunlun said this I chuckled and thought he was a idiot but when I listened to them I immediately was taken back by how (sultry, romantic) everything oozes out. This to me goes hand in hand with what's written above everything this IEM puts out oozes quality almost like I'm about to drift off in space or maybe to sleep. I should say it's disturbingly enchanting.

 

Erip-P*

 

SonyEx600 do acoustic guitars good, when I heard this I first thought funny thats something I feel the Atrio MG7 does good hearing the SonyEX1000 that is still true, slight different presentation with the acoustic being more present, fuller with slight more serpartion on the Atrio vs. the Sony spaces, airy, and a bit brighter.

 

Refintement: TBC

Sound Sig: TBC

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Confispect View Post

I wanted to do a review that was detailed and gave the users a good outlook on all three of these IEMS. The way things are looking the Fx700 will be excluded from this but will get a couple mentions thruout.

 

Again. Presentation. Only the parts with a difference in each is noted, there is no difference in quality all are equal its all about how each decides to present itself.

 

I took this chance to dive more into the three things I feel stand out the most in how each IEM decides to present itself.

 

Avenged Sevenfold - Nightmare > Part 2 of 3 

 

(Speed) Represented without the big sound of the Fx700 or the lean presentation of the SonyEx1000 this is where you feel there speed in how quick drums can go switching to the Ex1000 it's there as well but the presence and how the Atrio controls it is what stands out from the leaner I need volume to the sound the best SonyEx1000*<1>. The Sony Ex1000 is coming to the plate with a drum kit, guitar, and the rest of the instrumentals that it presents naturally in the mix. It steps off to the side with a airy, slightly dreamy leaner presentation of every single frequency but perhaps the mids which have a little body*<2> The Atrio steps off to the side with it's balance as it's weapon. The Fx700 steps off to the side with a party full of people who began to shake the place, then it has the nerve to present these people in with high definteion. Scary. (Body)On the spectrum as far as body goes and fullness and over doing it would be Fx700 > Atrio Mg7 > Ex1000. The SonyEx1000 is unique in how it decides to present the electric, grunt, and fire to this song the spike in the treble is what ultimately determines how it will present snares, cymbals, and hi hats. On the treble front keeping up with what is important as far as preferences it would go FX700 > Atrio Mg7 > SonyEx1000. Again none of these phones lack anything the only difference is how it decides to present things. Going back and forth between the three IEMS means things get either pushed forward or back the Fx700 makes this very apparent especially in the mids/bass.

 

Soundstage: One of the SonyEx1000 strenghts and maybe weakness if the user deems it unnatural is in it's soundstage. This is one of the problems that I have with the SM3 but the SonyEx1000 is different and much better. Wherever it comes from fit, tips, placement, it is nice. The soundstage is airy, wide and able to fill out space from the mids and slightly from the bass. I keep going back to this treble which I find interesting. The thing that stands out the most is the snare of any song with this song it comes across lean and even with a song where you have a drummer going at it the Sony gives you the thwack and snap but not the power and thump in short it sounds like click instead of pow. 

 

Instrument separation: Another difference of presentation would be it's instrumental separation all of them bring quality so you get a sense of, this is bass, this is mids, and this is treble. There's spaces where are due and pauses in between on this song everything is again slightly airy with snares coming and leaving in and out without making itself known*<3>. The Atrio MG7 grabs your attention all the while letting you relax because everything is there and focused/natural to boot Sony Ex1000 is more concerned with it's unique romantic presentation it really doesn't get busy in a music sense where the band is going at it and you sense harmony. This is more you sit up forget about the performance and how explosive it could have been and begin to guess which notes are being played and who's playing them wrong. Afterward every ones grinning but you are a bit bored. Your preferences may differ more below.

 

Sound Signature:

Step into the Sony Ex1000, take a second to picture yourself at the Guitar Center with a acoustic, your arms are resting on the strings as you think what to play to satisfy. The Sony Ex1000 would be the ear dead a inch away from your fingers as that treble spike but highly refined spike comes in which makes vocals apparent as ****. It puts you next to the players fingers to hear all the spaces in between. Put on the Atrio MG7 and your back in the guitar center sitting in your chair listening to him play the guitar naturally, and with balance. Slide over to the Fx700 and you are now out on the street walking to the nearest concert for a presentation that will surely get you bouncing and jumping all over the place while being all together beautiful. 

 

Side Notes:

 

1. When I first put them in I felt they where under-powered I listen at all volumes low, medium and rarely high but I do it to see what gets out of control. And what stays on the leash, with the SonyEx1000 turning up the volume smacks you with snares, voices are next but the rendering of them are perfect you can barely take your attention off the voices but at the velocity that the snares smack you, you turn the volume down, which rewinds you back to under-powered. Comparing these where annoying they needed volume but turning it up your head hurts, but you begin to hear the controlled bass dead center as the vocals proceed to enchant you. Weird. 

 

2. Fx700 (Concert), Atrio (Studio), SonyEx1000 (Listening Session)

 

3. The attack and decay is swift going hand in hand with the speed it comes and goes and is out almost with the perception of a bit to fast to follow the visceral performance the Atrio impresses with the same speed but you can now tell a snare with some power hitting with a bit of force/refined vs the Fx700 boom/big/refined, and the Sony, thwack/quick/refined. This comes with all frequency's this is where it goes back to preference. Violin: Sony Ex1000, Acoustic:Atrio. Two things I want to point out is first how nice the Atrio is with acoustic there is separation, the thrum and reverb and all the emotion that comes from going to hear an acoustic guitar soothe you and impress you.The second thing is the SonyEx1000 the way it presents Violin's is nuts it's romantic, full of sly emotion almost like it's showing off. The Atrio may be a bit more natural but the SonyEx1000 is undeniably seductive in everything it portrays while the Fx700 is concerned with big, timbre get you on your feet and dance. The Sony Ex1000 comes and seduces you, enchants you and puts you to sleep.It does this without effort just as the Atrio shrugs off the acoustic as is which is the most remarkable that would be up to you to make a decision on. One more thing all three shrug off everything with some a little more or so then others. As you range thru bass,mids,treble,instruments, timbre, each one does it's thing in each of it's way. If I was to throw out which one is most impressive it would be the Fx700, if I where to throw out my preference it would remain the Atrio MG7, if I want to say the most unique one it would be the SonyEx1000 this also goes to the Fx700 in own glorious way but I'd say the SonyEx1000 takes the crown. If you gave me a barrel with a hundred IEMS. I would choose these three.

 

Part 3 of 3

 

Refinement: TBC.

Impressions: TBC.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericp10 View Post

So, I finally received james444's EX1000 (on an extensive North American tour I might add). I was able to get roughly about 15 minutes in with them here at work -  only have my W4 here with me to compare them with. The next few statements is pretty much what I shared with cn11 in an inbox exchange (as he knew these were coming my way, and I know that he recently received a pair of GR07s):

 

Initial impressions are>>>> S--- MAN!! I wasn't expecting these to sound this **** good! And I definitely wasn't expecting the bass. Very nice bass. I can say now I know what you guys mean be refined. It is very refined and sounds like a full headphone. I still think the GR07's drums are better though, but I need to listen more and A/B the two. Of course, overall I know the EX1000 sound is better in quality than the GR07, but not necessarily blowing them away, but clearly better.

 

As for the EX1000 vs. the EX600, again I need to A/B both when I get home but I've a few say the former is 10 to 20 percent better in sound quality than the latter. I'm thinking about 15 percent better, but again, that might increase or decrease when I get home. Clearly, again, the EX1000 is better than the EX600, and if I could find the EX1000 for $300 I would scrape up the money to buy them right now. Would I spend $400 or more for them? As great sounding as they are I would have to say it wouldn't be worth it to my ears. $350 I might consider but doubt that too. But $300 definitely!

 

Now, I do have the W4 here with me and I did a quick A/B of the EX1000 and the Westone. At first I thought the EX1000 had more bass than the W4 (I'm using Shure olives on them as that gives me the best seal and isolation), but I was wrong after A/Bing. I think the EX1000 has a bit more impact and is more refined than the W4, but the quantity and quality of bass are about even, just presented differently. For example I hear a bit more sub-bass area in the W4 that EX1000 didn't reach while listening to the Black Crowes' "Cursed Diamond." So the W4 went a little deeper but the EX1000 is a bit more refined. I think those two attributes cancelled out the other in saying which one is better than the other in bass. There are, however, a bit more details in the EX1000's vocals than I hear in the W4. I think this may be because the EX1000's vocals brings you closer to the vocalist, while the W4 gives you a bit more distance from the vocalist. Anyway, more observations to come. I'm highly impressed (more impressed than I thought I would be to be honest).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericp10 View Post

So I'm listening to the loaner pair of EX1000 I have in my possession currently, and while I still think they're only 10 percent better than the EX600, it's one hell of a 10 percent!!! The sound is spectacular. So I'm trying to get a sense of what exactly does the EX1000 do better than the EX600, and the one thing that keeps popping out at me is that the big sister has even more defined space between instrumentation. It's like having two people who speak good english, but one of the two people is really taking his/her time to enunciate each and every syllable with very proper english. It's like the EX1000 is saying to its little sister, "you're good, quite good, but I am perfect!"

 

I am not in any rush to pick up a pair, but I have no doubt that I will eventually own my own pair of the EX1000. Will this madness ever cease? And yes, I still prefer the GR07 over both Sonys even though the EX1000 is the finest girl at the dance. GR07 is still a good looker, but she's more down-to-earth. She will hit the streets with you and doesn't mind getting a little grimy. The Sony sisters rarely want to leave the comforts of their home, and they will only perform if they like the environment you've placed them in. They are kind of stuck up and uppity....lol (but they can back their finicky attitudes up).

 

 


Edited by james444 - 8/10/11 at 11:12pm
post #3 of 3029

Nice Work! Didn't see that one coming.

post #4 of 3029

I remember jant71 or someone else posting a picture of those tips a while ago. How are those tips with the foam inside the sony hybrid? Too bad they aren't available for individual sale

 

Also the Sony iem seemed to be pretty ridiculously priced but I guess james444 likes those kind of iems :P

post #5 of 3029

Thanks for the detailed review James. It's always nice to see rarer, less popular earphones getting their time in the spotlight.

post #6 of 3029

Nice review and another one on the list of phones to buy (when I hit the lottery).

post #7 of 3029

Very nice write-up.  I just ordered the EX1000 from Sony U.S.  I hope I like it.

post #8 of 3029
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

 

Also the Sony iem seemed to be pretty ridiculously priced but I guess james444 likes those kind of iems :P

A hit, sir, a palpable hit. tongue.gif

post #9 of 3029

WOW , Awesome review , you have rated them above the Fx700 i see !

 

And these have comparable timbre as well ! thats some thing i need to try now ( though i wont be buying one :( ) 

 

I know you dont want customs but after buying the UM Miracle, i can say the high end customs do improve upon the sound by universals , quite a lot. Its not just seal . they produce a sweeter sound with awesome soundstage and imaging . Even more realistic timbre.

So please re-consider buying customs , james.

post #10 of 3029

Woah had no idea you had gotten your hands on those Sonys, *starts reading*. 

post #11 of 3029

Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in!!angry_face.gifvery_evil_smiley.gif

post #12 of 3029

Ok, first off the build looks really nice but the "made in china" makes it seem like a lesser product (had to mention it), it's too bad but good thing the build refutes that perception. 

 

That housing looks huge and the fit looks brittle like the DDMs. Again this could be way off in the hands on experience but looks make me skeptical. That mod made me giggle inside because it's pretty much something I came up with for the SM3s in which I placed a generic single flange in a reverse fashion at the very end and underneath of the triple flange I use.

 

On paper this had me really intrigued because of all the high quality parts used but then all of the impressions ruled it out as harsh/sibilant. This review makes it sound like I wish it did, which may or not be the case for me. They do seem to use some foam for equalizing the mids and highs and pretty sure a company like Sony would've at least taken it into consideration. 

post #13 of 3029

Great review. Make me want to visit Sony Style Singapore just to try it out.

post #14 of 3029

Always had a soft spot for things that sound silky smooth.

You got me interested in this, and me wallet quakes in fear XD

post #15 of 3029

Nice....and I would have about $750 coming my way. rolleyes.gif

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