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First Custom: Westone ES5 or JH16 PRO? - Page 2

post #16 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolidVictory View Post




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



To me, yes to both questions, but I haven't heard the JH customs, but I am extremely satisfied with the bass of ES5.

post #17 of 57



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolidVictory View Post


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



Yes, I went to Andrew Resnick for ear impressions. I have needed two refits (and counting...) each so far on the two ear molds he's done for me.

 

He's very nice, though. Maybe you will fare better. David Gray at Future Sonics told me that ANY audiologist's work can require re-fits.

post #18 of 57
Thread Starter 

Bump! L3000.gif

post #19 of 57


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolidVictory View Post

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!


I think you will get everything you want from either the ES5 or JH13Pro (don't have JH16Pro).  They're both incredible with a wide variety of sources or amps, or DAPs, offering a nice powerful, warm, rich, crisp, detailed, transparent and spacious sound.  Both have better depth of stage than my ES3X which put me on stage with the performers rather than in the first couple of rows.

 

There is only an occasional source or amp that doesn't work well with one or the other.  I tend to use the ES5 most with my iPhone and Pico Slim or HM-602 portable, and the JH13Pro with my balanced SR-71b/TWag cable connected to a nice USB DAC on my Macbook.  Neither ES5 or JH13Pro have as much hiss with a noisy amp as the W3 and ES3X, which I think it also very important.  As for comfort, I still prefer the heat sensitive vinyl tips (canal portion only) on the ES5 over full acrylic body and tip of the JH13Pro, but in general even the full acrylic customs are more comfortable for me for hours of listening than a universal IEM with standard tips.

 

- The main differences to me are that the ES5 has a little fuller or more vibrant mids than my JH13Pro, but some amps like my RSA amps (Protector/SR-71b) bring out the JH13Pro mids more.  The ES5 are slightly more forward than the JH13Pro, but not nearly as forward as my ES3X, so it's just right.  The JH13Pro mids are not really recessed and are more forward than those in a W3 (or full size Denon), but they are sometimes a little farther away than I like (depending on the amp).  Usually my complaints are when using the Pico Slim with JH13Pro, which itself is not a recessed sounding amp but somehow doesn't match the JH13pro nearly as well as my Protector or SR-71b.

 

On the other hand, the Slim is a perfect match for my ES3X and ES5, with incredible soundstage approaching that of the balanced SR-71b, and good bass control, rich mids, and crisp but refined non-sibilant highs. In general I'd say the JH13Pro sound a little more laid back and I've compared them to my O2 Mk1/WES before.  I'd say the ES5 are a little more energetic or alive sounding, and remind me a bit of my HE-6 although the mids are not as forward as the HE-6.  (I've previously compared the ES3X as sounding more like an HD800, and my UE11Pro were more like a D5000).

 

- The second difference is in the bass, where the ES5 bass is very strong and extended but the JH13Pro bass is a little more boosted in the deep bass.  So occasionally with some amps like my Pico Slim the JH13Pro bass sounds like the deepest bass is disconnected from the rest of the bass and that it's coming from everywhere (like a unidirectional subwoofer).  One example is with the Pico Slim and the JH13Pro reproducing a string bass, where sometimes the position of the deepest bass "thump" of the string being plucked is not as well pinpointed in the imaging and soundstage as the mid-bass and upper-bass, or even the higher pitched scratching sounds of the fingers on the strings.  

 

Again, switching to my RSA Protector or SR-71b (and other amps) makes the bass much better in the JH13Pro, but the Slim just doesn't sound quite as good with the 13's as the others.  This bass issue for me is only one of imaging within soundstage being divided with the Slim, and I don't think the JH13Pro bass energy is too much as I found with the UE11Pro.  Neither IEM is overly warm, but they are warm enough to keep almost anyone happy.  They wont be mistaken for an ER4, RE252 or PFE122 and yet wont put off lovers of those either.

 

- The third difference is not as big, and that is the high treble of the ES5 is a little more present or energetic than the JH13Pro treble, but totally without grain or harshness; and so with a bright or aggressive source like a 4G Nano or RSA Protector the ES5 don't sound as good as they could with a better source or amp (SR-71b is better than Protector, and works well with both JH13Pro and ES5).  Switch to a 3G or 6G Nano, iPhone 4, HM-602 or HM-801, DACmini, Amphora, DACport, uDAC-2 and the ES5 come into their own again (as do the JH13Pro).  

 

Despite this slight bump in the high treble for me, the ES5 seem to work very well with all genre and with most of my low bit-rate music, and do not increase sibilance at all.  So, when I listen to some of my sibilant recordings like "Girl in the Other Room" or some Kathleen Edwards "Back to Me" I don't have an issue and can enjoy them.  However, one recording that sounds horrible with both IEM is the 3OH!3 album "Want" that my kids bought on iTunes, but it sounds much worse with the ES5 - the highs are awful with that album (at least the iTunes 256K version).

 

 

post #20 of 57
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post


 


I think you will get everything you want from either the ES5 or JH13Pro (don't have JH16Pro).  They're both incredible with a wide variety of sources or amps, or DAPs, offering a nice powerful, warm, rich, crisp, detailed, transparent and spacious sound.  Both have better depth of stage than my ES3X which put me on stage with the performers rather than in the first couple of rows.

 

There is only an occasional source or amp that doesn't work well with one or the other.  I tend to use the ES5 most with my iPhone and Pico Slim or HM-602 portable, and the JH13Pro with my balanced SR-71b/TWag cable connected to a nice USB DAC on my Macbook.  Neither ES5 or JH13Pro have as much hiss with a noisy amp as the W3 and ES3X, which I think it also very important.  As for comfort, I still prefer the heat sensitive vinyl tips (canal portion only) on the ES5 over full acrylic body and tip of the JH13Pro, but in general even the full acrylic customs are more comfortable for me for hours of listening than a universal IEM with standard tips.

 

- The main differences to me are that the ES5 has a little fuller or more vibrant mids than my JH13Pro, but some amps like my RSA amps (Protector/SR-71b) bring out the JH13Pro mids more.  The ES5 are slightly more forward than the JH13Pro, but not nearly as forward as my ES3X, so it's just right.  The JH13Pro mids are not really recessed and are more forward than those in a W3 (or full size Denon), but they are sometimes a little farther away than I like (depending on the amp).  Usually my complaints are when using the Pico Slim with JH13Pro, which itself is not a recessed sounding amp but somehow doesn't match the JH13pro nearly as well as my Protector or SR-71b.

 

On the other hand, the Slim is a perfect match for my ES3X and ES5, with incredible soundstage approaching that of the balanced SR-71b, and good bass control, rich mids, and crisp but refined non-sibilant highs. In general I'd say the JH13Pro sound a little more laid back and I've compared them to my O2 Mk1/WES before.  I'd say the ES5 are a little more energetic or alive sounding, and remind me a bit of my HE-6 although the mids are not as forward as the HE-6.  (I've previously compared the ES3X as sounding more like an HD800, and my UE11Pro were more like a D5000).

 

- The second difference is in the bass, where the ES5 bass is very strong and extended but the JH13Pro bass is a little more boosted in the deep bass.  So occasionally with some amps like my Pico Slim the JH13Pro bass sounds like the deepest bass is disconnected from the rest of the bass and that it's coming from everywhere (like a unidirectional subwoofer).  One example is with the Pico Slim and the JH13Pro reproducing a string bass, where sometimes the position of the deepest bass "thump" of the string being plucked is not as well pinpointed in the imaging and soundstage as the mid-bass and upper-bass, or even the higher pitched scratching sounds of the fingers on the strings.  

 

Again, switching to my RSA Protector or SR-71b (and other amps) makes the bass much better in the JH13Pro, but the Slim just doesn't sound quite as good with the 13's as the others.  This bass issue for me is only one of imaging within soundstage being divided with the Slim, and I don't think the JH13Pro bass energy is too much as I found with the UE11Pro.  Neither IEM is overly warm, but they are warm enough to keep almost anyone happy.  They wont be mistaken for an ER4, RE252 or PFE122 and yet wont put off lovers of those either.

 

- The third difference is not as big, and that is the high treble of the ES5 is a little more present or energetic than the JH13Pro treble, but totally without grain or harshness; and so with a bright or aggressive source like a 4G Nano or RSA Protector the ES5 don't sound as good as they could with a better source or amp (SR-71b is better than Protector, and works well with both JH13Pro and ES5).  Switch to a 3G or 6G Nano, iPhone 4, HM-602 or HM-801, DACmini, Amphora, DACport, uDAC-2 and the ES5 come into their own again (as do the JH13Pro).  

 

Despite this slight bump in the high treble for me, the ES5 seem to work very well with all genre and with most of my low bit-rate music, and do not increase sibilance at all.  So, when I listen to some of my sibilant recordings like "Girl in the Other Room" or some Kathleen Edwards "Back to Me" I don't have an issue and can enjoy them.  However, one recording that sounds horrible with both IEM is the 3OH!3 album "Want" that my kids bought on iTunes, but it sounds much worse with the ES5 - the highs are awful with that album (at least the iTunes 256K version).

 

 



Thank you for the very detailed write-up. I understand more of how the JH13 sounds now from your description. However, I am curious about how the ES5 handles bass. You mentioned that the JH13 is a little more boosted in its deep bass. Would this technically be good for someone who enjoys bass impact like myself? Can the Westone ES5 contend with the bass impact of the JH13, or does it fall short? You wrote that the Westone ES5 bass is very strong and extended; however, in your opinion, for someone who listens to a lot of J-Pop and Jazz (both of which requires a tight yet powerful bass response in my opinion), would the JH13 better serve the bass in these genres or would the ES5 do better?

 

I know a lot of people are skeptical of the Westone ES5's bass performance, since it only has one bass driver. Albeit, I understand that the number of drivers don't matter--it's the tuning of the drivers that does. However, I'm still a fan of a very good bass response--it is an essential part of the music that I do not want to be disappointed upon listening to the Westone ES5. For comparison, I thought the Sennheiser IE8's bass was too thick, but had the best bass impact that I've heard from an IEM (impact wise, it beat my EarSonics SM3; bass texture and bass detail-wise, it did not).

 

Would you say the Westone's ES5 has a slight dB boost in the lower frequencies to deliver an "expected" bass impact from modern hip-hop and club songs that emphasis bass? I don't want an overbearing bass--just something that can sound like it's not struggling to impact the bass as best as it can. I've also read some of your posts, and you seem completely content with the ES5's bass, while other users (like parrots), feels that the ES5 is lacking bass. Do you think he feels that the ES5's bass is lacking because he listens to genres of music that might emphasis the bass more? Or perhaps he would not notice the lack of bass impact on the ES5 if he had never heard the JH13 or JH16?

 

If no one wanted to read my long ramble (I was being rather redundant and I realize that). I am basically asking: can the Westone ES5 handle bass impact and extension as well as the JH13 or does it simply fall short (even if it is minutely, like 5%).

post #21 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolidVictory View Post

Thank you for the very detailed write-up. I understand more of how the JH13 sounds now from your description. However, I am curious about how the ES5 handles bass. You mentioned that the JH13 is a little more boosted in its deep bass. Would this technically be good for someone who enjoys bass impact like myself? Can the Westone ES5 contend with the bass impact of the JH13, or does it fall short? You wrote that the Westone ES5 bass is very strong and extended; however, in your opinion, for someone who listens to a lot of J-Pop and Jazz (both of which requires a tight yet powerful bass response in my opinion), would the JH13 better serve the bass in these genres or would the ES5 do better?

 

I know a lot of people are skeptical of the Westone ES5's bass performance, since it only has one bass driver. Albeit, I understand that the number of drivers don't matter--it's the tuning of the drivers that does. However, I'm still a fan of a very good bass response--it is an essential part of the music that I do not want to be disappointed upon listening to the Westone ES5. For comparison, I thought the Sennheiser IE8's bass was too thick, but had the best bass impact that I've heard from an IEM (impact wise, it beat my EarSonics SM3; bass texture and bass detail-wise, it did not).

 

Would you say the Westone's ES5 has a slight dB boost in the lower frequencies to deliver an "expected" bass impact from modern hip-hop and club songs that emphasis bass? I don't want an overbearing bass--just something that can sound like it's not struggling to impact the bass as best as it can. I've also read some of your posts, and you seem completely content with the ES5's bass, while other users (like parrots), feels that the ES5 is lacking bass. Do you think he feels that the ES5's bass is lacking because he listens to genres of music that might emphasis the bass more? Or perhaps he would not notice the lack of bass impact on the ES5 if he had never heard the JH13 or JH16?

 

If no one wanted to read my long ramble (I was being rather redundant and I realize that). I am basically asking: can the Westone ES5 handle bass impact and extension as well as the JH13 or does it simply fall short (even if it is minutely, like 5%).


Well, when I wrote "the ES5 bass is very strong and extended..." I meant that It has plenty of impact, weight and depth.  That's what strong means to me, and it doesn't fall short.  I thought everyone with an ES5 has been saying that it's great (I didn't know about parrots), but the question doesn't seem to go away with the majority loving the impact.  I have no idea why he didn't think it was enough - perhaps a poor seal/fit, poor synergy with his gear, or he's a bass-head, etc?

 

With the Pico Slim, because the ES5 bass doesn't seem to have that "split" personality like the JH13 where it's coming from multiple directions in the very low end and from the direction of the instruments at higher bass frequencies, I think the ES5 bass is a little better defined in the imaging and cohesiveness than the 13's.  That is not really an issue with JH13 and most other amps, so usually with the JH13 you just get a slightly stronger deep bass "ring" or hang with things like kick drums and string bass.  With drums and electric bass or synth that may be slightly better, but with a string bass it sometimes makes it feel like someone has put a microphone up to the string bass and amplified it (but you can still hear the sound of the acoustic bass transmission in addition to that).  

 

Switching quickly from the JH13Pro to ES5 after acclimating to the JH13 does not make me hear a sudden loss in bass impact in the ES5, but sometimes switching from ES5 to the JH13Pro makes me feel like the 13's have slightly too much bass quantity (although with a similar impact).  I separate impact from quantity (and quality), because I think impact is that hit that you get when the note strikes, but quantity is the overall volume level.  It's possible to have a muddy or diffuse or slow bass impact and strong bass volume, or a quick snappy impact that hits hard and quick but doesn't sustain high levels.  I suppose that impact can be a little bit of a bass quality issue like speed, detail and texture.  Both IEM have good impact, but the JH13Pro have a little bit more quantity.

 

But, like comparing a single 12" sub to a pair of 10" subs, the JH13pro dual-bass drivers with the right amp can be slightly faster sounding, if you really focus hard on the music for qualitative differences.  And the two 10" subs might have just a little more quantity than a single 12" as well, even if impact is similar.  However, I don't find the ES5 bass to be slow in any way (just like a Zu speaker with 12" woofer), only that the JH13Pro bass is slightly faster (with the right amp).  I too thought the IE8 bass was thick, even boomy and sluggish - the only time it seemed good enough to me was with my ALO Amphora, and with everything else I didn't like it as much.  Only then was the bass quality as good as the impact and quantity, with a proper amount of bass.

 

I've heard IEM that I saw ran flat in the bass on the oscilloscope, and while not totally lacking I've wished for a little more bass with them (Xcape, RE252 come to mind).  The ES5 are not flat in the bass and have that typical rise in the lower frequencies that many good IEM or headphones have, and their bass is clearly better.  Based on auditory memory (fallible) I'd say the ES5 bass quantity is close to but a little more than my UM3X or ES3X, with better impact; and possibly more quantity than my W4 as well, but less than the W3, IE8, JH13Pro or UE11Pro.  

 

Of the four with more bass, I've thought the IE8 and UE11Pro bass could be thick and overdone, the W3 a little less so, and the JH13Pro the least offensive of the four bassier IEM.  I'd really have to pull out ALL of these IEM again if I wanted to give you the most accurate estimate of bass impact, quantity and quality.  So take my memory based estimates with a grain of salt.  But I wouldn't let a couple of dB one way or the other make or break my decision if I were you.  Basically the ES5 bass is not "overbearing" nor "struggling" to keep up.  It's just right.

 

Don't forget to see my big three custom flagship IEM review (link in my profile).  It will give you an idea of how close the ES3X came to the JH13Pro, and you can dovetail in my ES5 impressions from here and the ES5 thread to see why I like them slightly more than either of those.

post #22 of 57

ES5 is much easier to drive than JH13/16. I tried the demos with my Iphone and JH13/16 made me turn up the volume for about 20%

If your main type of music is J-pop(girl vocal anime songs?) and orchestral music then ES5 is for you. It has more liquid mid range and sound much nicer than JH13/16.

The vocal is more forward and is more charming, the high is smoother. I heard some sibilance from JH13/16 demo but not ES5.

However, ES5 bass is weaker than both JH13/16. The impact on ES5 is less. If you consume bass , ES5 won't satisfy your need.

I don't listen to rock , metal or hip hop so I can't comment for these genres. 

 

 

 

post #23 of 57

To be fair, I don't think anyone who actually owns the ES5 has found it lacking in bass, only those who have briefly demo'd a universal fit version.

post #24 of 57

I think that was a tip or fit issue on the demo.  I love my bass presentation and didn't feel wanting w/ the ES5 demo.  In fact, it surprised the hell out of me.  The bass was not only more precise and refined but more powerful and impacting than say the TF10 or SM3 dare I say even equal to or better than the Coppers though I would need to AB them to be certain on that last comparison.  I actually had some of my binaural test tracks scare the hell out of me w/ how realistic the ES5 bass presentation sounded.  As always YMMV.  

post #25 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
(I've previously compared the ES3X as sounding more like an HD800, and my UE11Pro were more like a D5000).

Great set of impressions, thank you HPA.  It's interesting that you liken the ES3X to the HD800, I assume you mean they are similar only in the mids?  Just seeking clarification, because you said the ES3x seem to put you "onstage", and the HD800's presentation is typically described as more "back of the concert hall."
 

I can't wait to see if your observations about the JH13's bass presentation being slightly inferior to the ES5's also apply to the JH16.  For me, one of the JH16's most amazing characteristics is its tight, coherent, and deeply-extended bass (at least in balanced mode with the Protector/SR71b).  I have yet to notice the JH16's bass feeling either out of proportion or disconnected from the rest of the music; the presentation is just very musical and integrated.

post #26 of 57

As much as I continue to be amazed on a daily basis by the JH16, if I was forced to pinpoint one possible weakness, it may be an occasional thinness or recessed feeling in vocals.  Don't get me wrong, it's extremely subtle and may just be due to how the recording was mixed.  But a slight bump in richness and prominence in the midrange would be nice for some recordings, and this possibility is one of the reasons I'm so excited to get the ES5s as a complement to the JH16.

post #27 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolidVictory View Post
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.


SV, i'm not sure my you're asking these questions in other threads and then starting a separate thread to deal with the same topic, but as previously mentioned a good fit is important and there is a resource on this forum, the audiologists impressions thread, which i recommend reading through. you may want to check if some of the other audiologists have other demo units as they might have both jha and westone demos, though i doubt you'll find the ear sonics demos (since you're so fond of the sm3, i think that it'd be worth your while to investigate their custom iem and previously gave you a link to a review of their custom vs the jh13). here's one post in particular that's relevant to you (though there are a whole bunch more that you could find pertinent):

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/440466/the-audiologists-impressions-thread-pun-most-definitely-intended/165#post_7307660

 


Edited by daveDerek - 3/3/11 at 1:54pm
post #28 of 57

Parrots, thanks for sharing your take on all 3 of these top tier iems. it provides useful additional perspective, especially since you're findings don't strictly agree with some other users.

post #29 of 57

Interesting, especially since you're aware that the 16 has a bit much. Sounds a bit like the 3 bears, at least from your perspective. How do you feel about the oher ranges? I suspect that your answer will be similar as often one range affects the perpective of more than just it's own band when describing things this accurate.

post #30 of 57

ES50320 has landed.

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