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First Custom: Westone ES5 or JH16 PRO?

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 

Hey all!

 

So I have decided to finally move onto custom IEMs. I've narrowed my decision between the Westone ES5 and the JH16 PRO (or JH13 PRO, but I am leaning towards the JH16), but I am having a hard time deciding. I would appreciate some opinions from owners, readers, and head-fier's who just want to share their insight.

 

Here are my top priorities for my first custom IEM:

 

In order of importance:

 

1. Clarity

2. Detail

3. Mid-range detail

4. Bass Impact

5. Build Quality & Comfort

6. Bass Extension

7. Treble Extension

8. Speed

9. Soundstage & Imaging

10. Micro-detail

 

And here are some genres that I listen to:

 

J-Pop (~30%)

Jazz (~25%)

Piano & Classical (~15%)

Orchestral (~15%)

Rock (~15%)

 

Some other attributes I am seeking:

 

1) Neutral sound signature, while still being able to deliver on bass impact when necessary (not excessively or smearing the spectrum). I do not prefer more bass quantity/impact over clarity, however I enjoy my bass and want a tight bass response that is not bloated.

2) Analytical while maintaining a musical touch (if you've heard the EarSonics SM3--just a bit more analytical than the SM3).

3) Airiness. Soundstage should not be too wide to the point where the music loses cohesiveness.

4) Should be able to run very well through my Cowon S9, and not require an amp to sound near its best.

5) Should sound very good without having to crank up the volume (I do not exceed 60% volume on my Cowon S9).

 

I am currently using EarSonics SM3s, and they have been very satisfying (owner for almost a year now). However, I want to get more clarity and less warmth, with more treble extension--while keeping the bass impact near the EarSonics SM3 level.

 

Any input, opinions, or other suggestions are very much appreciated! I will make an appointment with an audiologist by next week, and will update this thread accordingly!

 

I know I gave a lot of "requirements" but I wanted to give as much information as possible, since this is a very big investment for me.

 

Thank you!


Edited by SolidVictory - 2/28/11 at 7:13pm
post #2 of 57

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by SolidVictory View Post

1) Neutral sound signature, while still being able to deliver on bass impact when necessary (not excessively or smearing the spectrum). I do not prefer more bass quantity/impact over clarity, however I enjoy my bass and want a tight bass response that is not bloated.

2) Analytical while maintaining a musical touch (if you've heard the EarSonics SM3--just a bit more analytical than the SM3).

 

 

sounds like the westone sound here:)

post #3 of 57
Hallo, I don't own any customs but I have been reading up on the JH13/16 and demo-ing them at a local store quite a fair bit in the last 2 months.

I think the 13 fulfils the requirements of being analytical-yet-musical, and if you check the JH13 Appreciation thread you'll see a few users responding to my question on running it unamped--the consensus seems to be that even out of an iPhone/iPod (including the Nano), they're not left wanting. Still, the consensus also seems to be that the 13 requires 70-80% volume. Something to bear in mind.

In contrast to the 13, the JH16 certainly provides a "beefier" sound. A/B-ing them immediately casts the 16 in a more favourable light. However, I think one should be mindful of 2 factors that work to the 16's advantage:
1. Volume. The 16 has about half the impedance of the 13, and therefore gets loud at lower volume settings than the 13.
2. Bass. Of course, we know that the 16 has a more pronounced bottom end than the 13; this is readily apparent on any track you test either IEM with.

When A/B-ing any audio equipment, It is normal for most people to prefer the louder or bassier product. JH13 vs JH16 is therefore a skewed comparison because the latter is both louder and bassier. I have reservations whether it is the better product to own though...am concerned about the sound being fatiguing (and so should you).
post #4 of 57

I prefer the 13 and think that the OP should be comparing the ES5 to the 13 for his needs. Between the 5 and 16, I think the 5 would more suit.

post #5 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_C View Post

Hallo, I don't own any customs but I have been reading up on the JH13/16 and demo-ing them at a local store quite a fair bit in the last 2 months.

I think the 13 fulfils the requirements of being analytical-yet-musical, and if you check the JH13 Appreciation thread you'll see a few users responding to my question on running it unamped--the consensus seems to be that even out of an iPhone/iPod (including the Nano), they're not left wanting. Still, the consensus also seems to be that the 13 requires 70-80% volume. Something to bear in mind.

In contrast to the 13, the JH16 certainly provides a "beefier" sound. A/B-ing them immediately casts the 16 in a more favourable light. However, I think one should be mindful of 2 factors that work to the 16's advantage:
1. Volume. The 16 has about half the impedance of the 13, and therefore gets loud at lower volume settings than the 13.
2. Bass. Of course, we know that the 16 has a more pronounced bottom end than the 13; this is readily apparent on any track you test either IEM with.

When A/B-ing any audio equipment, It is normal for most people to prefer the louder or bassier product. JH13 vs JH16 is therefore a skewed comparison because the latter is both louder and bassier. I have reservations whether it is the better product to own though...am concerned about the sound being fatiguing (and so should you).


Thank you for this information. The volume setting is definitely a factor for me, as I usually do not ever exceed 50% on my Cowon S9. I believe the Westone ES5 performs better at lower volumes, is this correct?

 

post #6 of 57
SolidVictory: sorry, I've never tried the ES5 before. We could make educated guesses on volume requirements based on the specs (impedance, sensitivity), but I'm sure an ES5 owner will be along soon enough to provide us with a real answer.
post #7 of 57

SolidVictory, you might be able to get a better idea of the JH13 and JH16 at least since I know for sure one of the audiologists near NYC has the demo version of them so if you are still unsure then you can give them a demo and decide then.

post #8 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

SolidVictory, you might be able to get a better idea of the JH13 and JH16 at least since I know for sure one of the audiologists near NYC has the demo version of them so if you are still unsure then you can give them a demo and decide then.


I am actually going to visit Dr. Resnick to demo the JH13 and JH16 (he is going to be doing my impressions). So yes, that will play a part--but I do not know if he has a Westone ES5 Demo.

post #9 of 57

I wouldn't worry too much about demo-ing all the contenders. If you find that one of those 2 JH models hits the sweet spot, just go for it! 

post #10 of 57
You might want to ask Headphoneaddict, he's nicely compared the ES5 and JH13 and liked the ES5 better, as have a few people with your sound preferences.
post #11 of 57
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kunlun View Post

You might want to ask Headphoneaddict, he's nicely compared the ES5 and JH13 and liked the ES5 better, as have a few people with your sound preferences.


Thank you for the info, will do. Anyone else have any thoughts?

post #12 of 57

Another vote for the the JH13. Again, I've not heard the ES5 though.

post #13 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_C View Post

When A/B-ing any audio equipment, It is normal for most people to prefer the louder or bassier product. JH13 vs JH16 is therefore a skewed comparison because the latter is both louder and bassier. I have reservations whether it is the better product to own though...am concerned about the sound being fatiguing (and so should you).

I listen to the JH16s virtually all day at work and don't experience any fatigue due to overblown bass or sharp treble.  And I usually listen to high-energy music (house, hip-hop, trance) that tends to over-emphasize these frequencies.  Of course, you may have a different experience, especially if you've found yourself to be especially sensitive to sibilance or bass with other headphones.

 

I agree that impedance/sensitivity is an issue to consider with the equipment you plan to use.  The JH16 is extremely sensitive with most DAPs, and I hear noticeable hiss from the headphone out of the iPhone, HM-801, and Cowon S9.  I can't speak about the ES5, although someone recently posted that he finds them to be much more sensitive than the UE18.  Of course, a well-matched amp will fix hissing and channel imbalance problems (and provide other benefits).
 

Try bringing various universal-fit tips that you like when you demo the 13 and 16, so you can at least hear them with tips whose sound you're familiar with.  Not sure which ones will fit, though.  Also, bring as many portable sources as you can.

post #14 of 57

I really like my westones. I highly recommend them

post #15 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by piggys123 View Post

I really like my westones. I highly recommend them


Would you describe the bass as dynamic sounding and punchy? Does the bass sound natural, does it rumble when the song calls for it?

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