The frequency graphs only tell a part of the story. For instance the W4 graphs I've seen have a slight bump in the mids and the SM3's do not, yet the SM3 mids are more forward. The JVC's do have a dip in the mids yet do not place you as far away as other V shaped phones, such as the UE TF10.
Doing a direct compare of the SM3 and the FX700, both of which are well used with many hours, on my new favorite reference song: The Barry Williams Show by Peter Gabriel, the SM3 and JVC's presentation couldn't be more unlike.
The SM3 puts you on stage with the band. Peter sounds like he is singing next to you, not in front of you and the backup singers sound just as up front as he does, with less separation between the vocalists due to this presentation. On the JVC's Peter is placed in front of you and the background singers are a little behind him and to the sides. Along with the SM3's presentation putting you on stage, I find they are less dynamics than the JVC's. There is less difference between quieter and louder passages. Dynamics is one of the JVC's strongest features and the wooden housing and wooden driver add a sense of reverb not found in other phones, further adding to it's realism.
I find the SM3 puts more emphasis on instrument separation, whereas the JVC's are more organic but have a better micro details. When it comes to life like instrument sound, there isn't any comparison, the JVC's sound much more realistic to my ears. It is most noticeable in the horned instruments, bass and kicks. Also to my ears, cymbals/hi-hats/rides sound more realistic as well. Oddly enough, it is the synthesizers that sound more realistic on the SM3. The SM3 is definitely more neutral than the JVC's but JVC's sound more natural with greater energy. With the SM3's I feel like I'm possibly in the studio or on stage with the musicians, where with the JVC's I'm in the audience at a live venue.
All this being said, both are very good phones and it comes down to preferences. Do you want a neutral studio monitor presentation or do you want dynamic, in your face, live performance presentation? It's definitely a personal choice and who knows, maybe you won't hear it the same as me.
Pinoyman, this pic is for you:
Edited by shotgunshane - 6/30/11 at 6:04pm