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[Review] Impressions of the Sony EX1000 versus the FX700, GR10 and e-Q5 - Page 5

post #61 of 3003
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericp10 View Post

Okay @ James and Chris, now when are you guys going to join me in the customs plane? There are so many seemingly decent custom companies out there now that are allowing to you get a pair around the same price as the universals you are purchasing. Don't get me wrong, I think universals will always have their place, but these customs are taking sound - for me - to a whole other level.



eric-

I think I still prefer the 'idea' of universals, and how they are more easy to sell if you're not content with the sound over time (and we both know how that can happen to even the seemingly most vaunted kings of the heap!).... I'm sure the quads you have must be amazing though! However, these EX1000s do some amazing things too, and with that impact which only dynamic drivers can provide. Isolation is another matter though... not as bad as the DDM, or FX700, but worse than the SM3 for sure. Probably somewhere right around the IE8, maybe a touch less. 

post #62 of 3003
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn11 View Post

I have tried the bending beforehand, but they just sort of seem to shift back to the original placement.

 

Maybe they were stiffer out of the box, I don't remember. Now, if I bend a good bit further than to where I want them, they just shift halfway back and stay put.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericp10 View Post

Okay @ James and Chris, now when are you guys going to join me in the customs plane? There are so many seemingly decent custom companies out there now that are allowing to you get a pair around the same price as the universals you are purchasing. Don't get me wrong, I think universals will always have their place, but these customs are taking sound - for me - to a whole other level.


Hi Eric, my position in this matter is pretty straightforward: the day I hear a multi driver universal or customs demo pair that manages to impress me more than an EX1000 or FI-BA-SS, I will consider going custom. Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt your personal impressions and I'm genuinely happy for you - but my own musical highlights so far have invariably been with single driver IEMs, so I believe my taste is just somewhat ... different.

post #63 of 3003

A thought just occurred to me-- having owned the Z1000 headphones and now the EX1000 IEMs...

 

Spatially the Z1000s seemed rather constricted and restrained... rather IEM-like (they in fact reminded me a fair amount of my SM3).  While the EX1000s are the most open sounding, natural, big headphone-like IEMs I've yet heard.... Ha ha ha......

post #64 of 3003
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericp10 View Post

Okay @ James and Chris, now when are you guys going to join me in the customs plane? There are so many seemingly decent custom companies out there now that are allowing to you get a pair around the same price as the universals you are purchasing. Don't get me wrong, I think universals will always have their place, but these customs are taking sound - for me - to a whole other level.


What he said.

 

post #65 of 3003
Thread Starter 

Update: added a link to k3oxkjo's EX1000 review to post #1. Very worth reading, check it out!

post #66 of 3003

After a few weeks casual listening (these are impossible to listen analytically), I think I'm finally ready to post my early-ish impressions on the EX1000! biggrin.gif I'm not going to start a new thread. I think this is the main EX1000 thread so I'm posting it here and maybe James can link this post to his OP.

 

I don't know where to start, I'm chuffed to bits with these IEMs! I think these are the first IEM / headphone that I've listened to that is "perfect". Before you send me death threats, let me explain what I mean first. In my limited experience with IEMs, I always have a feeling that they are either 1) not technically capable of reproducing everything in the recording or 2) capable but tuned rather immaturely. Despite the things that I dislike about the EX1000, I get the feeling that these are exactly how the Sony engineers intended it to sound, right down to the last detail. I feel that the huge 16mm drivers are capable of doing anything the engineers wanted them to but for better or worse they have this specific signature tuned into them. So what I mean by "perfect" is that the capability is near unlimited and the sound is exactly how it's tuned. No flaws, no bass bleed or piercing treble or recessed mids or roll offs or whatever.

 

Okay, I'm still alive! Now that you have an idea of how it sounds, let me talk about build quality, fit and comfort for a bit before going into detail regarding the sound. The build quality of the EX1000 is amazing, sturdy and classy looking. I'm not a big fan of paying £200+ for IEMs that are made of plastic. The metallic dark magnesium housing, sweet smelling leather carry case and carefully arranged colour coded tips are much more welcomed smile.gif It also shows that Sony is paying attention to other superficial details making me feel that my money even more well spent for a premium product.

 

I find the hybrid tips very good, offering me excellent fit even when trying 5 different sized tips. They fit so well and the sound does not change much with different tips. Now comes my first problem. While they offer superb fit, I have trouble with comfort over long periods of listening. The tips tend to push against the inside of your ear canal (explaining the good fit) but that pressure will turn into pain and discomfort after an hour or so. In the end, I went with the smallest size (SS) which reduce the amount of surface area in my ear canal being pressured by the tips. Having played around more with the various size of tips, I have now overcome the pain that I once had. The pain is a non-issue now but it is still far behind my Westones with modded triple flanges which sit flush in the ears with superior comfort and isolation. Of course the EX1000 is vented so it doesn't have the best isolation. They look weird to put on at first but it comes very naturally and once it's on it stays there very well. They are light and nothing else touches your skin except the tips and the ear hook so they disappear after a while (or in my case until my ears feel pressured). Because the Sonys stick out quite a bit, it is useless for listening in bed. You won't be able to lie down on your side unless you like to feel them get shoved into your cochlea. I do miss my Westones when it comes to listening while I sleep.

 

Now the sound. As I said before, they're flawless. They are the best IEMs I've ever listened to period. There is a significant gap between the EX1000 and the W3 or IE8. It's no sidegrade but definitely an upgrade. It does everything better. Bass is so well textured and detailed. Mids are smooth and sweet. Treble is limitlessly extended. If you think the W3's bass is quality, wait till you hear the EX1000. You won't believe what you're missing. Listening to Norah Jones' Not Too Late (or any Norah Jones song really) the bass just flows with all its glory and texture. EX1000 is very detailed across the whole spectrum; instead of me going "oh now I can hear this particular instrument more clearly in this particular section of the song", I listen to the entire song and say "I have heard so much more of the song than I ever did before, no doubt". There is a special way of how it brings different instruments into focus throughout the songs so quickly (as if you're switching between different layers of the song) and the imaging is unrivaled. So amazingly smooth and slick. It has a soul, a certain cohesiveness and / or dynamics that aren't present in other monitors, even the "fun sounding" W3 and IE8. I can write a 50000 word essay on why it's so good but you can read James' OP for that. I want to talk a bit more on what I don't like about it because there is little enough for me to explain them in detail.

 

As James said, they are romantic, soft and mellow. Very true. I personally find it a bit lacking when the song needs some slam or impact. Think of kick drums, piano keys slamming or full throated singing. The Sonys will smooth them out and soften them over. In Glen Hansard's Say It To Me Now, the singer sings his frustration about his love affair but the Sonys will tend to sweeten his stretched vocal cords and frustrated strums of the guitar, reducing the amount of emotion he intended to portray. This is the romantic signature that James is talking about in his OP. Is this a technical flaw? No. This is exactly what the Sony engineers wanted. Is this good for you? Well it depends. Obviously for angry, frustrated songs, it may be too romantic. But for classical and jazz, the Sonys portray that romantic ambience perfectly. I also prefer a bit more bass impact (the impact of thunder at the end of Guns N' Roses' Civil War leaves a bit more to be desired. But like I said, these are soft and mellow. The opposite of what an angry raging thunder is trying to show you.

 

Another slight problem is surprisingly timbre. While it's excellent and perhaps one of the best, I still find it lacking in some instruments. This might be due to my raised expectations after reading James' review and my bias towards acoustic guitars / string instruments. The Sony's smooth signature tend to sweeten everything including a screaming singer like I said before and also the vibrations of a guitar string. Guitars in real life don't sound sweet but they sound crisp. Again, that is the opposite of the what the EX1000 is trying to do. This softness and sweetness adds a bit of colour into the song / instruments, not much but like a tiny drop of vanilla. Because of that, it doesn't achieve a full realistic timbre. The tonality is still near perfect but there is some sacrifice in terms of realistic string vibrations. Again, I believe that the Sonys are purposely tuned so. However, it does do vocals and "slower" instruments like violins exceptionally well as you don't need to hear a "crunch" or "bite" an acoustic guitar will portray. For vocals, as James said in his OP about Marina and the Diamond's Obsessions, her voice sounds near perfectly real. It's timbre is still miles ahead of an IE8 or W3 so it's not something to actually complain about really. Having heard James' FX700, I can say that the EX1000 is actually slightly better than the FX700 in that in nails timbre for more instruments than the FX700. The FX700 is still better with acoustic guitars as it does not have that slightly sweet extended treble (though the bass strings are a bit heavy) whereas the HJE900 is still better than both in electric guitars and drums with its aggressive distortion. For almost everything else, the EX1000 is better than other IEMs, making it the best IEMs for realistic timbre overall.

 

I think I have mentioned the 3 small problems I have with the EX1000.

1) Comfort compared to Westones

2) Bass impact, I'm a bit of a basshead

3) Sweetness (this issue almost doesn't even exist)

 

Don't take these as flaws but rather the only 3 things I thought wasn't "perfect" about the EX1000, just excellent but not quite perfect! And what I mean by excellent is on par as any other top tier IEMs out there. Those are the only things I want the EX1000 to improve on, yet I don't blame it because I know for sure that it is intended to sound that way. If it is tuned differently to cater to my needs, I'm sure someone else will disagree. In the end I feel like Sony is not making an IEM for me but for themselves to show the world what they're capable of. And that's great.

 

Thanks for reading this far wink.gif I hope this post doesn't leave you a bad impression about the EX1000. I know quite a bit of it are about what I don't like about them. But I repeat, they are the best IEMs I've ever listened to and they are definitely keepers. I can even go on to say that they are a significant upgrade from other so-called "top tier IEMs". As quoted from Mike in the Headfonia review:

 

Quote:
Previously, most people’s quest for a high end IEM would be limited to the customs molded stuff. Not anymore, as the Sony EX1000 is here to provide a fresh alternative to the high end IEM world.

 

Edit: Continuous impressions.

 


Edited by tuahogary - 3/31/11 at 11:17am
post #67 of 3003

Awesome review. I agree with most of it... but I don't get the comments james and you make about how they're a bit overly sweet, and smooth things over. They make every other IEM I have seem positively blurred sounding. I find them to be the most honed IEM I've heard so far. Details that are barely hinted at on the SM3 even (i.e. audible & there, but where you almost have to squint and concentrate to make them out) are spatially distinct and layered with these. The detail they present is just amazing to me. I did some A/B'ing last night with the IE8, Copper, and SM3, and the only one which remained somewhat listenable after the EX1000 was the SM3.... although as you noted about the IE8 & W3, the upgrade was pretty remarkable. I haven't heard the UM3X or W4, but I suspect they'd fall a touch behind these in terms of dynamics too. The IE8 last night was just laughable in comparison! Sooooo thick, plastic sounding, congested, and vague. 

 

Kudos to a great review!

post #68 of 3003

tuahogary,

 

Excellent balanced & detailed post! BTW, I didn't mind the use of the word "timbre" in your post  :)

post #69 of 3003
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuahogary View Post

After a week or around 35 hours of casual listening (these are impossible to listen analytically), I think I'm finally ready to post my early-ish impressions on the EX1000! biggrin.gif I'm not going to start a new thread. I think this is the main EX1000 thread so I'm posting it here and maybe James can link this post to his OP.

...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cn11 View Post

Kudos to a great review!


x2, kudos to excellent impressions. I've linked your post to the OP. Oh, and very good choice IMO to concentrate on the (perceived) weaknesses. As for comfort, you know I too had my fit issues, but ever since I've found the right tips and fit they've been extremely comfortable for me. Your issues sound like maybe you're trying to push them in too far - but I'm only speculating.

 

Regarding impact, I have absolutely no complaints and kick drums sound very impressive and almost like on full sized phones to my ears. Are you sure you're tips aren't too small for a perfect seal? But you have a point regarding sweetness/smoothness. While I don't believe they actually smooth detail over, I second your interpretation that timbre is a bit skewed towards softness and lack of aggression. I think I've mentioned it in my OP, these phones are not for those who prefer a more aggressive sound signature or listen to rather aggressive musical genres. But since my favorite genres are classical, folk/rock and jazz and involve mainly acoustic instruments, I have no problem with that.

 

Lastly, regarding guitars sounding more crisp in real life, again I have no complaints. My Al Stewart and Dave Matthews records sound excellent. Yet since I saw in your unboxing video that you're a guitar player yourself, I'll give you the benefit of doubt. wink.gif

post #70 of 3003

@cn11 Thanks mate! smile.gif When I said sweet and smooth, it doesn't mean that blurs the detail out. But rather a slightly long-ish attack and decay with a touch of sweetness that I can't describe in technical terms. So acoustic guitars for example sounds a bit sweet at the top end which is slightly unreal but still not far off from being 100% real and still much better than every other IEMs I've tried. I'm only nitpicking on the very small things that I can find. These are definitely the most refined universal IEMs ever.

 

Love your comment about the IE8 biggrin.gif It has to be one of the most overrated IEMs in Head-Fi surely. Or I might have bought a faulty unit I dunno.


Edited by tuahogary - 3/13/11 at 11:18am
post #71 of 3003

Great review tuahogary! Since I listen to alot of metal I will probably take a pass on these unless the price comes down a whole lot smile.gif. Waiting eagerly for the fx700 nowbiggrin.gif

post #72 of 3003
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn11 View Post

The IE8 last night was just laughable in comparison! Sooooo thick, plastic sounding, congested, and vague.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tuahogary View Post

Love your comment about the IE8 biggrin.gif It has to be one of the most overrated IEMs in Head-Fi surely. Or I might have bought a faulty unit I dunno.

 

Don't agree. I still believe the IE8, with their mid-bass hump EQed down, are great sounding and pretty refined IEMs. Though the EX1000 are better, no doubt.

post #73 of 3003

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post

tuahogary,

 

Excellent balanced & detailed post! BTW, I didn't mind the use of the word "timbre" in your post  :)


Thanks for your kind words. Much appreciated smile.gif

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by james444 View Post

 


x2, kudos to excellent impressions. I've linked your post to the OP. Oh, and very good choice IMO to concentrate on the (perceived) weaknesses. As for comfort, you know I too had my fit issues, but ever since I've found the right tips and fit they've been extremely comfortable for me. Your issues sound like maybe you're trying to push them in too far - but I'm only speculating.

 

Regarding impact, I have absolutely no complaints and kick drums sound very impressive and almost like on full sized phones to my ears. Are you sure you're tips aren't too small for a perfect seal? But you have a point regarding sweetness/smoothness. While I don't believe they actually smooth detail over, I second your interpretation that timbre is a bit skewed towards softness and lack of aggression. I think I've mentioned it in my OP, these phones are not for those who prefer a more aggressive sound signature or listen to rather aggressive musical genres. But since my favorite genres are classical, folk/rock and jazz and involve mainly acoustic instruments, I have no problem with that.

 

Lastly, regarding guitars sounding more crisp in real life, again I have no complaints. My Al Stewart and Dave Matthews records sound excellent. Yet since I saw in your unboxing video that you're a guitar player yourself, I'll give you the benefit of doubt. wink.gif


Thanks James! You're the man! biggrin.gif You might be right about me pushing them too far in although it seems that it's designed to be worn that way. Ever since I changed to the SS tips, I don't bother inserting them as deeply as before. Yeah, as I said before these are top IEMs, but I guess maybe it's a bit unfair to compare it to the real thing. Lately I also found out that if I put myself in the 2nd row of a concert hall, the less crisp guitar makes more sense. I guess I'm used to and expect to be sat in a small room with the guitar player which will give a much more crisp sound. Regarding impact, it's excellent  in jazz or classical music, but less so in rock. But that's what the HJE900 is for! Nitpicking really, not a flaw as I said wink.gif

 

The IE8 just doesn't work for me. I sold mine to my friend who absolutely loves it, even after he listened to my W3 and HJE900 so different ears and perception I guess.

 

I also want to thank you for introducing me to Marina! Love her "acrobatic" voice! etysmile.gif

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daanish View Post

Great review tuahogary! Since I listen to alot of metal I will probably take a pass on these unless the price comes down a whole lot smile.gif. Waiting eagerly for the fx700 nowbiggrin.gif


Thanks! Definitely don't buy the EX1000 if you listen to a lot of metal tongue.gif Congrats on the FX700, that also have a place somewhere in my collection as soon as I find the funds for them!

 


Edited by tuahogary - 3/13/11 at 11:52am
post #74 of 3003
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuahogary View Post

I also want to thank you for introducing me to Marina! Love her "acrobatic" voice! etysmile.gif

 

You're welcome. Go check her out live sometime, shouldn't be hard in the UK. Like most great singers, she's even better live than on record.

post #75 of 3003

I actually like heavy guitars a lot on these! I'm listening to Tool Lateralus, and it's just amazing.   evil_smiley.gif

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