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My W4s Came In! Preliminary Review Inside......(Westone 4 Vs Earphonics SM3)

Poll Results: So which One?

 
  • 56% (41)
    Westone 4
  • 43% (32)
    EarSonics SM3
73 Total Votes  
post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

Side Note, I have another thread which I created a few days ago, and it's got a lot of information in it if anyone feels like getting more detail.


But for sake of simplicity, I am going to go ahead and ask in this new thread since I've searched and I haven't really found a good comparison of these 2 phones. It would be preferably great for someone to respond who has had experience with both of these IEMs, but I'm open to hear anyone's responses....

 

 

The reason I am looking into these two IEMs (or at least I've narrowed down from a big list), is because they come across as the most balanced, neutral sounding IEMs in the category/range of $300-400 (roughly, I know the W4 is more).

 

The type of music I am going to be mainly listening to is all over the place. Wide variety. Why? - Because I am a DJ who mainly plays Urban influenced music (Hip Hop, R&B, Pop), but more often than not, I am finding myself needing to experiment into other genres/territories at the request of my clients. So it is quite possible I could be listening to everything from piano riffs to deep house & drum n bass through these phones. One important factor to consider is that I need the vocals to be ON POINT, which I think won't be a problem with either of these.

 

Logistics - I feel like the W4 seems to have a better overall design than the SM3. I'm not saying that because the SM3 looks like it came out of a Star Wars movie....that part I think is actually kind of cool! I'm concerned with the SM3 is reported to be too short at the Y-Connector?

 

 

 

Some other questions if anyone has the answers:

 

  • W4's 4 Drivers ( is this actually better?)
  • Bass Response - Which has more and which is more accurate? (Same for mids/treble)
  • Neutral - My understanding of this may be a little skewed *i'm still new here* -- but neutral = not colored = as the artist intended it = close to being in a studio setting vs live.....what is the perceived difference here?

 

So I guess essentially I am looking for you guys to help me pick one over the other and give me a decent reason for doing so.

 

Lastly, don't worry too much about the price. I am not saying that price is no object. But it seems like these can be had for very close price points (give or take $50)....I'm skeptical on the shipping from France w/ the SM3....but I figure if I'm going to commit the $ for the IEMs, then another $50 here or there won't kill me. Plus I feel they will both hold their resale value pretty good.


Thanks all!

post #2 of 31
Thread Starter 

PS: I do want to go to Custom IEMs at SOME POINT, don't know when. Could be later this year, or in 2 years.....but I am TINKERING with the idea of the UE4, since it's in the same price range. So if you really want, you can help me compare that against the last 2 choices.


Just as a Side Note - BUT PROBABLY IMPORTANT: I most recently owned a UE Triple Fi 10....and I was pretty pleased with the sound signature, and the bass was also pretty decent. The bass could have always been better....but certain tracks it was and others it was more recessed (if you get what I'm saying.) This could have been fit, seal, etc because they were not the best to keep in your ears, especially during activity like GYM. I ended up selling them though because the cable was falling apart....but I think all the other options I'm talking about have solid cables....

 

thanks again!

post #3 of 31

@alphahelix, I think you need to hear them first if you know some shops in your location...let your ear decide which is for you.

 

Well, I voted for SM3 here...but neutrality-wise and balance I prefer the W4 with treble extension no need for eq'ing. Bass Response are the same IMO. Only that in dynamic-wise, I prefer the SM3 (mine is eq'd), it's more lively and for me, it gets me into my music. I use W4 for orchestra and instrumental music, soothing and relaxing.

post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingice10 View Post

@alphahelix, I think you need to hear them first if you know some shops in your location...let your ear decide which is for you.

 

Well, I voted for SM3 here...but neutrality-wise and balance I prefer the W4 with treble extension no need for eq'ing. Bass Response are the same IMO. Only that in dynamic-wise, I prefer the SM3 (mine is eq'd), it's more lively and for me, it gets me into my music. I use W4 for orchestra and instrumental music, soothing and relaxing.



Agreed. I do need to find a shop that will allow me to audition them. Unfortunately, I cannot, despite being in NYC - how crazy is that?? Most places I've called up must think I am trying to pull a fast one on them and not interested in purchasing the IEM or who knows what. Most have just flat out told me I am welcome to test out any over ear headphone, but they don't allow testing of IEMs....which is surprising to me since I learned from this nice lady at J&R that major manufacturers send them demo kits with a lot of throw away tips in the package....

That being said, I feel even if I was able to try them...the SM3 is non-existent to find anywhere....not only that, but earlier today this morning I was on Amazon and the W4 was in stock I believe at some place called "crawfords" for $429 shipped, no tax. And the SM3 was available for $359 -- since about 3 hours ago, I went online to order - and BOOM - NEITHER IS AVAILABLE....I wonder what that is all about.

 

It seems like I am going to have to buy this online and call it a day....do you know what my best options are? I could go to B&H and just buy the W4 there....but they won't let me try it anyhow, so I figured order online would save me a considerable amount in tax....and maybe I can get a coupon or something to get the price closer to $400 for the W4 or $300 for the SM3 -- or am I reaching here?

post #5 of 31

Between these 2. I would suggest the SM3, buttery mids and insanely neutral(see the FR chart) and can be had for $320 shipped (soundearphones.com 10sound code, 10% off) compared to the w4. Although the warranty is shorter, 1 for the sm3 and 1+1 for the W4 and less comfortable if you have smaller ears.

 

Personally though I would go for the um3x, more bass impact, 2 yr warranty, replaceable cables and slightly cheaper

post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by incongnit0 View Post

Between these 2. I would suggest the SM3, buttery mids and insanely neutral(see the FR chart) and can be had for $320 shipped (soundearphones.com 10sound code, 10% off) compared to the w4. Although the warranty is shorter, 1 for the sm3 and 1+1 for the W4 and less comfortable if you have smaller ears.

 

Personally though I would go for the um3x, more bass impact, 2 yr warranty, replaceable cables and slightly cheaper



So let me see if I have this correct. Becuase I am really trying to make a decision today - I am wasting soooo much **** time with all this!

 

Your preference = SM3 > Westone 4 

 

But UM3X > SM3

 

So you also prefer UM3X > W4 ??

 

Every time I try to make a decision, one thing or another sways me the other way. I think for that reason I am going to limit myself between the two choices I presented above (W4/SM3) - I feel like these are going to fit the bill for me better than any others. I don't feel like I want to go and exhaust myself with the UM3X now...I've already done all that w/ the Shures and UE , Ortofon offerings over the last few days.

 

So it seems like soundearphones is the best place to get SM3 and it will end up around $320 (although tips will probably be extra as I've read they come with almost nothing in the package)

How about the W4 - what is the best place to buy....those I don't have to worry about tips right off the bat, because they are packed with a bunch, right?

post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by incongnit0 View Post

Between these 2. I would suggest the SM3, buttery mids and insanely neutral(see the FR chart) and can be had for $320 shipped (soundearphones.com 10sound code, 10% off) compared to the w4. Although the warranty is shorter, 1 for the sm3 and 1+1 for the W4 and less comfortable if you have smaller ears.

 

Personally though I would go for the um3x, more bass impact, 2 yr warranty, replaceable cables and slightly cheaper



Another thing pushing me to the W4 - is the build quality (or lack thereof) on the SM3. I've heard reports of the casing falling apart, the cable's Y-Connector being too short and getting in the way of active use....and being that the company is based in France - I don't want to be dealing with replacements overseas, etc....

 

decisions, decisions

post #8 of 31
The SM3s aren't the 'easiest' phones to live with, given their build quality, possible RMA issues and comfort of wearing.

Anyways, you can't go wrong with the W4 either. Its got that very luxurious, easy to listen to, non-fatiguing sound paired with not just a good build quality, but a comfortable to wear one too (SM3 has angled housings..... ow).
post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 

I am still perplexed....my poll is exactly 50/50....ohh man.


I am scouring the net for W4 deals....if you guys know any please feed them my way. I am leaning to the W4 to be honest....I just don't want to deal w/ RMA issues with a overseas company :-(

post #10 of 31

 

Taken from the W4 thread.........

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by EraserXIV View Post

It's hard to say. The SM3 is similar to the UM3x only in that it is more skewed to the bass and mids in signature. That is where the similarities end though. The SM3 has much more clarity and energy in the entire spectrum, and I personally didn't like the UM3x too much since it seemed a bit lifeless and "veiled" to me. The SM3 is more similar to the W4 in that it has good clarity and energy, but keep in mind that the notes are thicker coming out of the SM3 and the W4 is much more

balanced.

 

 

 

My preference is SM3>=W4 but only slightly, then again I only heard the w4 for 30mins, Don't really like the westone sound myself, too airy IMO. 

 

Hope it helps too

 

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/478568/multi-iem-review-160-iems-compared-denon-ah-c360-h2o-surge-pro-added-04-04

 


Edited by incongnit0 - 4/6/11 at 12:10pm
post #11 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by incongnit0 View Post

 

 

 

 

My preference is SM3>=W4 but only slightly, then again I only heard the w4 for 30mins, Don't really like the westone sound myself, too airy IMO. 

 

Hope it helps too

 

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/478568/multi-iem-review-160-iems-compared-denon-ah-c360-h2o-surge-pro-added-04-04

 


I know i should probably have a better handle of this, but can you elaborate on what you mean when you say more airy? Do you mean wider soundstage?

It seems like it is almost a 50/50 toss up between these two. Yes the SM3 is a bit cheaper, but i am still concerned over the fitment issues and build quality which I must take into consideration even more since the votes are nearly 50/50.

One more question. For Hip-Hop, Pop and Dance music, which one would you give the edge to while keeping in mind vocals are equally important In each genre.
post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 

Well, I went ahead and placed an order for the Westone 4s

 

I mean, it got down to the point where it was really a toss up between these and the SM3s. It almost seems like either way I might have been okay - but I guess time will tell. Hopefully I like the sound signature of these the W4s....otherwise I'll probably have them listed up here for sale quite soon. They ended up costing me about $440 shipped from Earphone Solutions.

 

I hope I made the right choice here....

post #13 of 31

Well either way you will be making the right choice...sorry, I can't suggest you where to buy these phones given your location but if you are here in SG, there are a lot of audio shops out here carrying top of the line headphones. you can even try them out.

 

Happy to have your impressions in the W4 club!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alphahelix View Post

Well, I went ahead and placed an order for the Westone 4s

 

I mean, it got down to the point where it was really a toss up between these and the SM3s. It almost seems like either way I might have been okay - but I guess time will tell. Hopefully I like the sound signature of these the W4s....otherwise I'll probably have them listed up here for sale quite soon. They ended up costing me about $440 shipped from Earphone Solutions.

 

I hope I made the right choice here....



 

post #14 of 31

Agreed, it will be great to know your impressions of the W4 as a DJ.  I have both IEMs, but end up listening to the W4s more for 3 reasons: (1) the higher frequency response of the W4s give music a bit more airiness, (2) the W4s have more clarity, allowing better discrimination of tracks which are in the background of the mix, (3) the W4s are more comfortable than the SM3s.

 

That said, the sound signature of the SM3s, being warm and lush, tends to bring out the bass.  I like the W4s more for acoustic/classical music and the SM3s more for electronic.

post #15 of 31

I don't think you could make a "wrong" choice here, as they are both by feedback, both great IEM's.  If you're mixing and need the balance and neutrality, you probably went with the right choice with the W4's.  However, if you were just using them for listening purposes, you might have been happier with the SM3's, given the genres you listed.  And actually maybe even the Atrio M5 v2's, MTPC, MTPG, FX700's... all of which would have been well suited/fun for those genres, as well.

 

Was actually in the same boat not too long ago, deciding between the two and went with the SM3's.  While the W4's sounded like it could be technically perfection based on the reviews, it seemed like it could have sounded kind of bland in character.  Not necessarily in a bad way, just very good to excellent at everything but superior or stand out at nothing; technically pristine but yet not quite analytical...but not super dynamic.  I personally like a tiny, little bit of color or character in my phones, and decided the SM3's (very good treble, superb mid-range, excellent- bass) would be be a better complement to my FX700s (superb bass, neutral/excellent- mid-range, superb- treble).  Plus savings of a bucketful of lunches was a nice bonus too, considering this hobby!

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