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Multi-Custom In-Ear Monitor Review, Resource, Mfg List & Discussion (Check first post for review... - Page 170

post #2536 of 3831
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tupac0306 View Post

Yeah NT6 is bright, and SE5 is similar to LCD 2. And I just got my LCD 3 yesterday, the brightness is between SE5 and NT6. Great imaging. Once again I am amazed how SE 5 way can even technically keep up with LCD 3. LCD 3 is only a bit more neutral sounding (especially mids) than SE5 with smoother, more liquid-like presentation and more space/air. SE5 is closest to the absolute audiophile sounding CIEM when driving in the right system.

 

Good to know, thanks!

post #2537 of 3831

Yes, SE-5 mids are quite a thing. Unfortunately, bass boost and treble cut are also a thing. I prefer lowly RE-400 to them.

post #2538 of 3831
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralStorm View Post

Yes, SE-5 mids are quite a thing. Unfortunately, bass boost and treble cut are also a thing. I prefer lowly RE-400 to them.
I really do not understand how you have the oppositeo other people's opinion on this, and also the opposite of your initial opinion.
post #2539 of 3831
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralStorm View Post

I prefer lowly RE-400 to them.

No disrespect, but this sounds like a joke.

post #2540 of 3831

I don't think it's unreasonable. We all have our preferences. The RE-400 is a very competent IEM despite its low price. And if the sound sig fits him just right, then I can see how it would be preferable to a far more expensive IEM that has a different sound sig.

 

It's like someone preferring a "cheap" Sennheiser HD598 to a Grado PS1000, or a VMODA M80 to an Ultrasone Edition 10, etc. Just because the expensive models cost more, and probably do certain things far better than the cheap models, doesn't mean everyone will like their sound. Nothing wrong with that. 

post #2541 of 3831

It was meant to be funny, but it's not a joke.

 

My first reaction was: wow, this thing has dynamic driver-like bass! Which it truly does in no way other BA I heard has.

However, it is boosted - equalizable though. Very high quality. But RE-400 has even more extended bass without a boost in the recently derived configuration. No need for an equalizer at all.

 

Shelved treble was always there (can be equalized), light texture - but while RE-400 treble is a small bit thicker, it is nowhere near as shelved by default and can actually be made fully neutral with a trivial mod and right tips.

Total highs extension is on par.

 

Mids are indeed very nice in SE-5. But RE-400 mids are just as nice.

 

Now the upsides: very low distortion everywhere. However, RE-400 also has very low distortion everywhere.

Nice comfort - but RE-400 are more portable and lighter in ear - and these RE-272 long tips are fitting very well.

Cable - that one I don't know yet.

The big upside of SE-5 is isolation. It's a lot, twice as much as RE-400, which don't have too much.

 

Soundstage - RE-400 wins, SE-5 has something off there even when equalized, it is rectangular and splits instruments weirdly at times  - they sound like they're mixed in post-production instead of being recorded together.

RE-400 has reverberation in highs, SE-5 doesn't - that's a matter of taste, but I find this kind of reverb very natural, room-like.

 

Ringing - SE-5 rings slightly in a few places like most BA-based IEMs. Not really distracting, but there, audible mostly when equalized as its in the high mids and highs - results in an "oversharp" feel to the sound. RE-400 doesn't ring.

 

So to speak, Hifiman RE-400 with some slight tuning (tip rolling and removal of the damper in my case) is one of the best or perhaps the best IEM out there.

 

Note: I haven't heard all or even most of CIEMs - however few are dynamic driver based or even hybrids. The main unfixable problem (can be reduced but does not go away) with BAs is the relatively narrow bandwidth and ringing. And because the bandwidth is narrow, you need more and then need crossover networks that mess with the phase.

 

Perhaps I should try FutureSonics Ear Monitors some day...


Edited by AstralStorm - 2/23/13 at 12:07pm
post #2542 of 3831
Sorry. I guess I was being a bit judgmental..but in theory it's just unbelievable how re400 can technically keep up with high end ciems. I have absolute no problem about people having different sound preference. But IMO good sound presentations gonna be at least based on some solid technical abilities. One of my friends bought the re400 speical edition and he said it's very good for that price range. Again it's just not realistic for me that it can compete something that can potentially surpass lcd2 IMO. I guess that's the beauty of hi-fi world
Edited by tupac0306 - 2/23/13 at 12:11pm
post #2543 of 3831

Actually it can, as LCD2 is not the be-all, end-all out there. Especially dark sounding revision 1. Funny thing, far cheaper HE-500 can rival the revision 2 - but not really win. Or perhaps Sennheiser HD 800 with its overdone highs after equalization or modding. Or one of the Stax.

And RE-400 equal HE-500 to my ears everywhere except bass tactility (not just impact) and beat it at distortion/blackness.

 

SE-5 is actually not as competent technically as LCD2. Really, BAs just don't have the sound of an orthodynamic driver in mids and highs, nor even SE-5 special bass drivers can rival orthos air-moving capabilities. SE-5 shares sound signature with LCD2 rev1 though.

 

Still shocked to find price Goliath beaten by David?

 

Remember how many CIEMs just plain use TWFK with some added bass driver. A plain TWFK-based IEM costs about the same as RE-400. (Rockit R50 or Brainwavz B2) Converse to RE-400 though, these require deep fit, which is much easier to achieve with a custom earmold.


Edited by AstralStorm - 2/23/13 at 2:18pm
post #2544 of 3831

I think part of the confusion is technicality versus preference. Many people agree the HD800 is technically brilliant. The debate comes when you ask people if they actually enjoy listening to it. 

post #2545 of 3831

Technical ability of SE-5 is very high, so is of RE-400. They are actually on par - or even RE-400 is better due to the issues with SE-5 soundstaging caused by the crossover network. Especially noticeable on tracks using "widening" effect (also known as "surround").

RE-400 is way, way more tunable and out of box much more enjoyable to me. It matches SE-5 equalized very well in terms of ability, but presents a much more reverberated sound, but not slower or much thicker. Bass is actually slightly leaner in RE-400, but better extended and as impactful. Mids are very competitive in both, SE-5 presenting dryer, slighty more forward mids, while RE-400 slightly less forward (but not recessed) and lusher. In highs, SE-5 sounds like a balanced armature when equalized - aggressive, sharpened sound. Unequalized the highs are vastly reduced in loudness and the general signature hides this sharpness. RE-400 sounds bit less aggressive and more reverberant instead, slightly thicker perhaps and definitely bit smoother, but not at all less resolving.

 

I'm talking about SE-5 equalized, not plain. Plain is a small, dampened cellar kind of sound - not that nice - and that covers some of the problems. Equalization to equal loudness at all frequencies takes the sound signature (which I dislike) out of the picture.

 

Do note how I mentioned e.g. equalization or mods to improve the sound - the latter is not possible with a BA IEM really, except perhaps for a vent of chosen size - and that tends to increase bass.

 

The only possibility is equalization or high output impedance, which also causes equalization. Unfortunately for SE-5, the latter makes it yet darker.

In some IEMs, there's a possibility of installing dampers - but this makes no sense in SE-5, as dampers typically only reduce highs...

 

Back when I bought SE-5, I didn't have TWFK-based Brainwavz B2 or (now retired) RE-ZERO to put them in perspective.


Edited by AstralStorm - 2/23/13 at 4:41pm
post #2546 of 3831
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralStorm View Post

Yes, SE-5 mids are quite a thing. Unfortunately, bass boost and treble cut are also a thing. I prefer lowly RE-400 to them.

This is really hard to believe.
I will have the SE5 in couple days, the truth shall be revealed soon. wink.gif
post #2547 of 3831
Quote:

Originally Posted by AstralStorm View Post

 

 

Perhaps I should try FutureSonics Ear Monitors some day...

 

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/539898/review-future-sonics-mg6pro-ear-monitors-dynamic-driver-custom-fit-in-ear-monitors/990#post_8813759

post #2548 of 3831

Oh, so that'd be another mistake. I mean, MG6Pro Ear Monitors. There might be an older version around...

 

Maybe someone should prod Hifiman to make a dynamic driver CIEM. That could be glorious!

Small market though and lots of work.


Edited by AstralStorm - 2/24/13 at 12:40am
post #2549 of 3831

Joe, would you care to chip in ? Could this is very confusing to me.

 

I understand how preferences can change drastically from one person to another, but the judgment of technical ability should not differ that much. I mean, I have asked the opinion of everyone who owns the SE5, and whether they like it or not, they acknowledge it as among the best technically.

 

Whereas if you look at the RE400 reviews, people say it is a great performer for the money, beating 200-300 $ iems, but not on par with higher en CIEMs. And here we are talking about a 1400$ ciem.

 

Besides, AstralStorm, and sorry to come back to this, but your first review of the SE5 qualified them as being "Ear jewels, with Extreme extension both ways; supreme detail; perfect bass quality". And now you have tried a couple of 100$ iems and your opinion changed COMPLETELY. I am sorry but there is something I do not understand here.

 

I do not mean to attack you AstralStorm, I really want to understand were this comes from.

post #2550 of 3831
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mimouille View Post

Joe, would you care to chip in ? Could this is very confusing to me.

 

I understand how preferences can change drastically from one person to another, but the judgment of technical ability should not differ that much. I mean, I have asked the opinion of everyone who owns the SE5, and whether they like it or not, they acknowledge it as among the best technically.

 

Whereas if you look at the RE400 reviews, people say it is a great performer for the money, beating 200-300 $ iems, but not on par with higher en CIEMs. And here we are talking about a 1400$ ciem.

 

Besides, AstralStorm, and sorry to come back to this, but your first review of the SE5 qualified them as being "Ear jewels, with Extreme extension both ways; supreme detail; perfect bass quality". And now you have tried a couple of 100$ iems and your opinion changed COMPLETELY. I am sorry but there is something I do not understand here.

 

I do not mean to attack you AstralStorm, I really want to understand were this comes from.

Opinions change with experience. Judging technical ability by ear is subjective, as is everything judged by ear. Astral Storm has given some of the clearest assessments of the SE5 on head-fi. That his perspective has ripened with time is no flaw.

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