A note on the Altec Lansing custom IEMs...received an email from the media contact stating that they are tuned differently than the ACS products. That is all the detail I received and I replied again with more questions and I will update here as I find out more.
Let me start by saying that with a proper fit, acrylic shells are very comfortable. The advantages of acrylic shells is: they are sturdier/don't flex, have detachable cables (although I think many of the silicone manufacturers are working on that and Sensaphonics already has been successful). Silicone is note necessarily more comfortable in my ears as I can wear most of my monitors for extended periods of time with no issues. Isolation in the upper frequency range is better with silicone, but the Starkey SA-43, which uses an acrylic shell filled with silicone gives about the same isolation if not a bit better than the two silicone shelled custom IEMs I have.
Why don't a lot of companies use silicone? From what I know it is much more difficult to work with than acrylic. Silicone used to have yellowing issues, and may still, plus the cable is usually the first thing to go on an IEM, so detachable cables can save a lot of hassle.
I used my Westone ES5 before. One of the bassdrivers are broken. Currently I use the Sennheiser IE8 and I find it to be a little bit faster in the bass compared to the ES5. But The ES5 have a lot more detail in everything. The ES5 was to slow to me with fast double bass drumming and I think it has a too narrow soundstage. Iam looking for I iem with a lot of detail with a big soundstage and/or a more fun iem like the i9pro and I listen to 99% Metal. Sorry if I ask to many questions.
Wow, that is the first time I have heard someone call the ES5 slow (I haven't read all the thread posts, so I may have missed it). I wonder if there was always something wrong with your ES5, especially since the IE8 is faster in the bass region and you had a driver fail. Usually BA drivers are faster than dynamic drivers, but I know there could be exceptions. If speed is your concern, custom IEMs like the JH16, LS8, TS842, and Infinity X3 are the fastest. I compared the i9pro with the aud-5X with my various speed metal and the 5X does sound faster than the i9pro, although once I wasn't A/Bing them the i9pro sounded fine, however I prefer the 5X sound signature for metal since the mids are more forward and for me the presentation fits quite well, but if you want a more laid back presentation the i9pro will give that to you.
I don't have experience with the im716 but remember reading all about it and if you are satisfied with that, that is awesome! For me, custom IEMs are so much more comfortable than most universals I can hardly stand to keep universals in my ears for extended periods of time!
what is your name?
what is your quest?
what is your favorite color?
poor joe is drowning under questions (and it must be an everyday pm's avalanche)
thanks a lot for this huge work. as a 35 year old newborn in matters of properly feeding my ears, i m really grateful and appreciative of all the tips and of how you went over the usual pride trap "now that i ve spent 1000+$ on this i have to say it is the very best" .
ok i ve got my question cause i m not better than anyone else. when reviewing headphones vs customs you talk about the sound stage space and don't seem one bit bothered by the fact that customs are restricted to the head. but when reviewing the audio players you clearly note smaller sound stage as a weakness. was it just a matter of speak or is there something deeper that i don't get? i m not picky for the fun of it, in fact you might be the first person i read who doesn't blatantly say that huge sound stage = quality sound. i am having some kind of inside revolution about that atm . which leads me to believe that i need several earphone/headphones depending on what i m listening to (+ mood) . that + the unending list of products you guys are reviewing make it really hard to handle. my banker is concerned and hates u all btw.
Uh, blue. No, yel....aggg
Thank you for sharing your perspective and your questions!
IMO there is a give and take between headphones and IEMs. Both are so very different with headphones of course using the outer ear while IEMs don't. I find that headphones can sound larger overall, but then they give up the image created across your head. For me, both take some adjustment to get used to when I have only been listening to one for any extended period of time, but it is easier for me to adjust to IEMs for whatever reason. When I rate sound, I take things into account such as detail, naturalness, cohesion of the presentation, clarity, transparency, etc. and soundstage size is only part of the equation. Also, just because something has a wide soundstage doesn't mean the soundstage has the proper depth and height as a headphone with a smaller stage can sound more realistic and natural to my ears. One of the issues I have with headphones I have heard that cost below the LCD-2 price point (and I haven't heard them all) is that they sound more like a point source outside my ears vs. giving that coherent imaging across my head. I have to stop myself from focusing on hearing the speaker outside of each ear while with lower end IEMs the opposite is the issue with many, and that is the sound is too in my head and not expansive enough.
Part of the equation to me is how defined everything is within the soundstage, not just the size a headphone recreates. If something is big, but puts things in the wrong place, has poor definition, or lacks definition in all the way across my head I am not as immersed in the presentation as something that is smaller that does all those things well. Sorry about your wallet, and better your banker is upset than your credit card holder is smiling!
Edited by average_joe - 11/16/11 at 10:06pm