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Ultimate SM3: the DARKLORD of all UNIVERSALS

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

this is a review of the famous sm3 and a comparison to the eq7.

 

 

 

PICS first:
















 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

the ortofon is one of the best among all top tier iems.
to me it is one of the hardest iem to explain.
hardest to describe.
the sound is just very hard to capture.
and turn it in words.
its warm. its cold. its bright. its everything. 
and that everything is the ortofon eq7 and your music.
what makes the ortofon eq7 stand out among the rest is its tube like sound and very sweet voice presentation.

now, the sm3, is considered and highly regarded as the best iem in all universals.
well, to some it is.
to me?
well let's see.
to ceph, my friend in headphiles, it is his cure to all the iem poisons that surrounds him.



BUILD:
The phones are shelled in a plastic case, transparent in front and black in back.
its amazing how Earsonics fitted 3 drivers inside. 
it looks like a semi-custom-shelled iem.
but, it feels cheap to the touch.
the wire and plug is very well built.
there were 3 strands that were held together to make a one single braided wire.

however, upon inspection at the phones, youll notice how fragile this iem is.
one fall, and it will surely break.
there were reports already that this iem is very prone to breakage.
so...
taking care and handling of this is critically and essentially important.

the case is sturdy and strong, but it doesnt feel classy like the ones that is included in the ortofon eq7.

NOTE:
i just wish it was made more of HIGH QUALITY material, instead of just breakable plastic, they can use hard plastic shells, or the ones that is currently use in customs...acrylics. or something made of metal...aluminum like the ortos or the zirconias of tha pannys.
the wires are already fine with me...and the case too.

bro daniel once told me...the secret to sm3s sound is its poor build.hahaha.




MATERIALS:
ipod classic EQ off
.wav format files

SONGS:
ACOUSTIC - LOVE MOVES IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS, NINA
INSTRUMENTAL - ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING, CHIELI MINUCCI
LIVE - ONLY WHEN I SLEEP, THE CORRS ACOUSTIC LIVE
POP ROCK - BAD ROMANCE, LADY GAGA
JAZZ - HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART, MICHAEL BUBLE (MALE VOICE)
        - COME AWAY WITH ME, NORAH JONES (FEMALE)








SOUND:

you all know sound is very subjective.
so, i only have limited experience with it.
my background for reference:
have been using the ue700 for about a year now...
mx980 earbud, by sennheiser, for 6months now.
ortofon for about a month.
a grado sr325is for 3months.

my aim is to define the sound of the sm3 and compare the voice presentation of the sm3 to the ortofon eq7.





ACOUSTIC - LOVE MOVES IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS, NINA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWh4eHoRI2o

SM3:
at first, youll hear a few number of people clapping...in a great distance.
the soundstage is very one of kind.
its special here.
its like it defines the space where the performer is.
here its like in a small room, with very few people around.
the sound of the piano here is thick and strong...textured.
and youre very close to that piano, its like its in front of you.
Nina's voice is sweet as it is... its sounds natural to me.
then, came the guitar and the thump of an instrument that i dont know, its  like youre listening to a live acoustic session.
it brings you to the space theyre in.

its like i am listening in a smokey room...
full of small band and listeners...its like the air in that room is here too...
you can feel it.
the acoustic of the room.

to define it beautifully, the sm3 is inviting/engaging and i once told the panny is dreamy, well, here youre not dreaming, its like youre in there with the performers...the voice, very few listeners and instruments have good spaces in them.
it doesnt mix the voices from instruments.
everything is clear as day.
the sound of cymbals crashing doesnt seem too lively like in my ue700, its like its there, but its not clearly defined. not lacking....BUT...
but its alright...just fine.


EQ7:
people clapping... then the space seems smaller here in EQ7 than in sm3.
its much better in sm3 to my ears.
however, NINA's voice seems...
sweet but id prefer the voice in sm3...its very natural there.
here, its limited in space, in instrument separation.
its like crowded a bit in a very small room...
theres a bite of stick pounding in the drum, the guitar is lively as well, pianos is textured too...
but ill choose guitar sounds here over the sm3.
sweet. lush and smooth all at the same time.
but space/soundstage, its the sm3.

 

 

 

 

INSTRUMENTAL - ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING, CHIELI MINUCCI (guitar)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ul5sVddWqj0

SM3:
rumbling then...the sound of the guitar..
strings sounds just fine.
i can differentiate clearly the front and the supporting guitar here.
the sound is relaxing as it is...
very nice.
tototot...tooowwttt...
its like the guitar is crying...
hear that?
nice.
youll be amazed by this song...on how it can bring you that emotion...
youll be swayed here...as what was meant by the artist.
very addictive here too.
the sparkle just isnt here...i wish i could hear it here so that, the sound will be more on the LIVE side. (ue700s)

EQ7:
refreshing...
something new to my ears...coming from sm3.
its like the sound here is much nicer.
airy, and theres the lushness in the midrange.
making the sound relaxing and warm...definitely engaging.
the HIGHS here is alive.
its kicking and there that bite at the top...
here i hear the sound i long for...the sound stays longer in the air...the highs...it dies with sweetness at the end, decays much better than the sm3...
it sounds cleaner in sm3, here is smoked, but...in a good way.
the guitar here is more lively.
and better.
one quality of the ortofon that the sm3 just cant simply beat.




LIVE - ONLY WHEN I SLEEP, THE CORRS ACOUSTIC LIVE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wq4eeHZOpfs

SM3:
"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN...PLEASE WELCOME...THE CORRS!!!!"
people clapping and whistling...its like im there!
wow.
claps are everywhere...surrounding me.
unbelievable...this isnt the sound coming from an iem!!
then the stick...counting 1,2,3...then the orchestra along with the band...
Andrea's voice is very sweet and nice. very natural again...just like NINA's.
its like she is singing to me and everyone's performing around me...
you call it 3 dimentional?
yeah it is!
im in the middle of the space theyre in.
too many instruments here, from guitars to drums to violins...
some are placed far from my ears, others are in front of me...some in between.
i say, this is a very good iem that can perform unbelievable in some certain kind of tracks...
Andrea's voice is in the center in front of my face, the sound of the guitar in my right, inside my head, there are the orchestras and the back up singers...its place everything beautifully.
 

EQ7:
with the same intro, well id say the sm3 is better with all the clapping everywhere, its more lively and true in that part.
here its like youre drown by the ortos magic...something relaxing.
the sound is limited like before..
it cannot portray the sound space like the sm3s...
too bad.
but id like the sound of decays here.
sweet...very!
Andrea's voice is nice.
but id prefer sm3s version of Andrea's voice.
its more organic there.
addictive? lush? its in here.
mellow? smooth? its in here.
all coloration can be heard here to make your music more beatifully and artificially done.
but, being TRUE AND ORGANIC is in the sm3...
its there.
Simply, the ortos cant match the soundstage and deeper depthness of the sm3.
its the sm3's aura and prowess.
but coloration for goodness' sake...its in the ortos.
its more addictive there.





POP ROCK - BAD ROMANCE, LADY GAGA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrO4YZeyl0I

SM3:
please dont hate me if i chose this song...i really like LADY GAGA, just much as i like MADONNA.
same as before, the sm3 wont fail you on its sweet voice presentation.
the honesty and truthfulness is all there.
no matter how big, how hard, how fast the sound is...it can do everything with flying colors.
but the highs is just right just like as before.
every details, nuances, but seems like to me...the sm3 sounds dark.
dark.
making the track uhm...lifeless.
but i dont mean it as its not a good performer, it is in voice, in soundstage.
but...here, clearly, id say...the HIGHS plays an important role in some tracks (POP, ROCK, anything with energy and with fast beats)  that needs it...the LIVELY HIGHS..
sparkling...crispiness...isnt here.
it sounds lifeless. dull.
it sounds...is this it?
is this the sm3s weakness?
well it is.
i found it at last.
i didnt notice at first. but upon listening to the middle of this song...its somewhat lacking now to my ears.
its dark and dull at this kind of tracks...
no matter how hard the sm3 tried...there isnt a lively, sweet, sparkly, crispy HIGHS.
the bass is great. deep and accurate. well defined.

EQ7:
now the eq7 goodness.
the voice is very refined.
very defined.
very nice.
oomphs are here...but sounded limited at times because its a BA, only MOVING.
i say, this can match the sm3s details...but not much..at least it can compete with bravery.
the bass doesnt go deep in the ortos as the sm3s.
the highs is of high quality...smooth and nearly earpiercing.
beware if youre sensitive to that kind of HIGHS (ala-mx980 highs)
there is this kind of sig in the ortos that makes this music...addictive air/liquidness.
and i like it, really...
strange.
but the coloration is really pleasant too at this kind of tracks...
or i say, most of the tracks i played with this iem.
it welcomes you at first sound it gives...
youre  IN-to music...that fast!
call it inviting, engaging, everything...its here.
and really, i like it very much.
something that is not present in the sm3.
the coloration.
the flavor...is enjoyable.
and it helps you to be IN to your music and long listening sessions.





JAZZ - HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART, MICHAEL BUBLE (MALE VOICE)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aML0e2eZl3s

SM3:
michael's voice is inspiring.
there is a quality to it.
truthfulness to his voice.
...even the breathing, the thickness of the breath he inhales and exhales..
the texture of the words he utter/sings...
he is like singing only to your ears...privately in front of you.
i really like the sm3s presentation in voice.
very high quality and unique.
sweet and "mapapadala ka", youll be swayed.
the instruments sounds wont also fail you to be emotional along with michael's voice.
its perfectly done.
everything.
theres some crispness i hear now, that is not present in lady gaga's bad romance, pop rock track.
just lovely...

EQ7:
crispiness of the cymbals...nice.
i like it here. sweet and defined well.
michael's voice is brilliant as the sm3s.
but i will choose the ortos this time in this kind of slow jazz music.
its really UUGGGHHHHH....
hard to explain.
its addictive. 
addictive in many ways.
clearly, the soundstage may not be as perfect here as the sm3s, but the sound is so..
yummy.
so delicious.
its like in ortos, all the goodness is near you, in front of you, with the sweetness, all in your face, all you can eat, all you can hear, all you can feel.
it doesnt do honesty like the sm3s presentation.
but pianos are more alive here, the voice is great as the sm3s...but the HIGHS are again cautiously spiky at times.






COME AWAY WITH ME, NORAH JONES (FEMALE VOICE)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBKcKQHZXks

SM3:
the intro of this song is so lovely.
its like the air is welcoming you.
there is a cymbal crashing softly. very softly...
something that doesnt sound offending at your listening.
the pianos are soft as well...with a careful lightness to it.
its done with care.
Norah's voice is superb as it is.
im in the jazz club.
where i hear the lonely sound of BASS.
its like im alone and i want to cry with this music.
im IN-to the music again.
and im feeling very emotional right now.
im happy.
content.
feeling very luck at what i have right now.
i imagine myself...walking in a lonely street...under the hot hot sun. but feeling cool..because the clouds covered the sun.
and under the tree, wind blowing my way...
walking now on a greenly grassy field...
so nice.
there's a magic here in the sm3 and in this music.
and its done.
the music just died just like that.
it ended....without me noticing.
i replayed the song again...
under the power of this song again...its like im in HYPNOTIZED by its magic.
very very nice.

EQ7:
the eq7 way...now.
i hate to take the sm3 off my ears...
i wish it stayed there while listening again in this music.
im missing the sm3...now.

well, for the ortos, sorry, i played it back again...
i missed the sm3 so bad.
now, i hear clearly the softness of instruments in sm3s.
here, its like a bit veiled...off.
but the pianos is very well done.
alive. true and accurate.
the voice is just right.

upon hearing the sm3...sorry guys...im having a hard time defining the ortos right now.
its like the power of the sm3 lingers in my mind.
and im out of focus in the ortos...

well, ill press play again, and try to do it again...
sorry.

here.
the air here is much stronger, its thicker, than in the sm3.
the pianos is of much thicker here.
the sound of the bass, is audible..thick too.
the voice is nice too.
it is on par with sm3.
maybe...i forgot. sorry.
been playing this song for 3x now.
and...simply nice.
and right.
the addictive air/liquidness is helping alot to make the music enjoyable and sweet.
 

 

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION:
well, here is where i want to give my final words on this iem...the final verdict.

the sm3 is an overall good performer, from jazz to rock.
it can penetrate you in many ways.
its musical, with the capability to portray music in its 3d space goodness.
the sound is really UP there...
UP there kind of quality.
its a TOP tier indeed.

it can do something that others just CANT.
wanna know what that is?
one is the voice.
it can match and sound more realistic than the ortos vocal presentation, the ortos main strength.

it can do the FAST TRACKS/POP ROCK kind of music easily...effortlessly and with realism.
it isnt lacking in spaces. soundstage. or instrument separation.

it can do what other universals cant.
its unlike any universal that makes the sound tuned in a small space.
here, youre IN that kind of space where the music was recorded.
wether its a THEATER, a HALL, a JAZZ CLUB...or in a STUDIO.

its like a MONITORing iem with the FUN factor.
youll hear every nuances...every bit of air, and sound...

i hear its weakness and also can be considered as its strength...being DARK.
why?
well, its really important to certain tracks to give that LIVELY sound.
being dark gives you that ...dullness and lifelessness in music.
without the help of those CRISP, SWEET, AIRY highs...it just sounded off at times.
only at times, and only at some certain tracks.

i say, this is a very very good iem that has and will shape the history of ALL UNIVERSAL iems.
the sound isnt limited.
its not an iem at all...
it produces sound brilliantly on its own ways.

you gotta respect that this iem just simply cant produce that HIGHS im looking for.
but, for long time listening, that present HIGHS can be fatiguing at times...
so...the SM3 created something better for long listening sessions.

its not very hard to love the sm3.
the fit is not a problem.
the build is....
but, im not bothered, because the future of this iem lies in RESHELLING/REMOLDING.

the sm3 is an all rounder iem.
it can play anything.
it is an iem...that shakes the universals.
and shapes the history of audiophiles.
it is like a dark as a chocolate.
oozing and bursting with sweetness...

a custom in a package of a universal.

 

 

 

NOTE:

to all the readers...sorry for my kind of style of writing.

its easy for me to take notes and read in this kind of style...

so i chose this kind of writing.

 


Edited by pinoyman - 3/15/11 at 9:13pm
post #2 of 17

your review is

UP there...

so HIGH

as a KITE

that's an expression we use,

high

as a kite.

it MEANS you are MAYBE on...something

how would I describe this...?

I will use

              your

                      words:

"it is like a dark as a chocolate.
oozing and bursting with sweetness..."

 


Edited by Kunlun - 3/15/11 at 9:03pm
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

^hahaha.

i laughed on that!

 

...sorry.

its my way of writing things.

i dont wanna read long reviews in a big paragraphs...

it makes me dizzy.

 

so i made it like this.

easy to read...

 

 

post #4 of 17

beerchug.gif

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

beerchug.gif too!

post #6 of 17

i share your impressions. to me the sm3 is too dark. seems like a-ha sounds like depeche mode. after one hour i feel like getting depressed. i bet thay lack a whole octave in the upper mids.

post #7 of 17

great pics and an interesting review :-). Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sofastreamer View Post

i share your impressions. to me the sm3 is too dark. seems like a-ha sounds like depeche mode. after one hour i feel like getting depressed. i bet thay lack a whole octave in the upper mids.


that's the word on how to fully describe the sm3s...

it makes you feel depressed...

 

that's the feeling youll get when listening to sm3 for long hours...

 

that's the reason why it is boring in the first place.

 

i suggest those who have depression shouldnt get an sm3 for their music.

it should be more on the LIVELY and BRIGHT side of iems.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dweaver View Post

great pics and an interesting review :-). Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

thanks for reading.

as always...o2smile.gif
 

 


Edited by pinoyman - 3/15/11 at 10:28pm
post #9 of 17

Glad you are enjoying your SM3 and thanks for sharing!  The space is amazing IMO for a universal!  Now go try some customs and you will be wowed yet again evil_smiley.gif

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

^oh...i thought i already got the cure (sm3) for this poisons...very_evil_smiley.gif

maybe...one day. who knows...

i might remold and add drivers for this iem.

post #11 of 17

"it can penetrate you in many ways."

 

Hahaha, awesome! Do they come with a PG-rating? Don't want him to penetrate me before we had a chance to at least got to know eachother.  

 

Thanks for the review! I always wanted to try these.

post #12 of 17

Pinoyman strikes again! Dude, you're buying IEMs and spitting out reviews at an alarming rate. I can see Joker getting nervous already... kidding aside, one more great review, thanks! smile_phones.gif

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negakinu View Post

"it can penetrate you in many ways."

 

Hahaha, awesome! Do they come with a PG-rating? Don't want him to penetrate me before we had a chance to at least got to know eachother.  

 

Thanks for the review! I always wanted to try these.

 



hahaha...

i really dont know why i chose that words...

but i only meant the possitive way, not the green way...hahaha.

 

okey...what i really mean is it can capture your heart...

 

 

thanks for reading sir Negakinu.darthsmile.gif

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by james444 View Post

Pinoyman strikes again! Dude, you're buying IEMs and spitting out reviews at an alarming rate. I can see Joker getting nervous already... kidding aside, one more great review, thanks! smile_phones.gif


nah....

this would be the final iem.

i gave you my word on that, JAMES.

 

no...JOKER is hard to beat. hahahaha...

he is my mentor.

 

honestly james, this will be my final review too.

because i will focus more now on my family and music...

i got a daughter on the way...

so...gotta be there at her side at all times for me NOT to missed those very special moments when she smile.

i want to be there always for her...

 

ill just visit here sometimes.

to read more from JOKERs and ALL OF YOU GUYS.

 

 

 

o2smile.gif


Edited by pinoyman - 3/16/11 at 2:36pm
post #14 of 17
Quote:

nah....


this would be the final iem.

i gave you my word on that, JAMES.

 

no...JOKER is hard to beat. hahahaha...

he is my mentor.

 

honestly james, this will be my final review too.

because i will focus more now on my family and music...

i got a daughter on the way...

so...gotta be there at her side at all times for me NOT to missed those very special moments when she smile.

i want to be there always for her...

 

ill just visit here sometimes.

to read more from JOKERs and ALL OF YOU GUYS.

 

(Just quoting you, so you can't edit that one later... wink.gif)

 

Wise decision, pinoyman, though I will miss you. All the best to your family and daughter! smile.gif

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

^thanks man...i will surely remind myself of that quote one day.L3000.gif

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