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Review: Spiral Ear SE 5-way Reference - A new level of resolution? (Review posted 5/15/12) - Page 3

post #31 of 2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

Here is an excerpt from my review, although I am still waiting on the JH16 reshell before I post my review as well as a high end desktop DAC.  This part is from the section where I evaluate what Grzegorz has written about the 5-way.  This is not final, but I wanted to post something since I have been waiting for such a long time to get some equipment.

 

 

Super extended resolution, frequency response, instrument separation and multi-dimensional soundstage will make you realize all the subtleties you have missed and never heard before in your well known recordings. And we mean all recordings - I do agree that I can hear things I miss with everything else I have including the LCD-2, LS8, and SA-43 to varying extents.  What is missing is the ambiance of the room and the performance as well as the clarity and detail present in the little things.  But I don't agree with the "all recordings" part as I have some recordings that just don't have that much information (Flo Rida - Low for example).  I can understand where Grzegorz is coming from because the clarity is better than everything else, but it is not analytical clarity like the LS8, it is natural clarity that, for me at least, often surprises me when I go to something else.  The LS8 is ultra detailed and each instrument has the full detail present, but the room ambiance isn't necessarily present, at least to the extent of the 5-way.  The SA-43 also has this natural clarity and some room ambiance, but not to the extent of the 5-way.  The EM3 Pro does have somewhat similar room ambiance, but the clarity is lacking compared with the 5-way, degrading the realism.



This thing sounds very interesting. The only thing keeping me back from buying it is the all silicone shells. Have you heard the Westone ES5?

post #32 of 2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tronz View Post

This thing sounds very interesting. The only thing keeping me back from buying it is the all silicone shells.

 

Why?  I consider it a plus.

 

Have you heard the Westone ES5?

 

The idea has been thrown around.  wink.gif



 

post #33 of 2015
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

This thing sounds very interesting. The only thing keeping me back from buying it is the all silicone shells.

 

Why?  I consider it a plus.  Pros and cons, just depends on who you ask.  Some really love their detachable cable!

 

Have you heard the Westone ES5?  I haven't asked Anaxilus if I can borrow his and see if I can shove it in my ears and I don't have the jack to buy one at the moment.

 

The idea has been thrown around.  wink.gif




 



 

post #34 of 2015

Quote:

Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

The Pico Slim is more neutral than the Arrow and has more resolution compared with the original 12HE version of the Arrow that I have.  The original version has a 10 ohm output resistor, but the newer versions (I will be upgrading to the 4G) don't, so I am not sure how much improvement there will be.


Will you be doing a review or comparison of the Arrow 4G when you receive it? I'd love to know how it compares to the Pico Slim. 

post #35 of 2015
Thread Starter 

Update on the 5-way.  I am 95% done with the review and have been communicating with Grzegorz throughout.  He suggested I return the 5-way as he thinks my fit issues may be affecting the sound even though the 5-way is simply stunning, so next week I will be sending them back.  Once I get them back I will listen for about a week and then post the review sometime after.

 

As far as the Arrow, I will be using it for the source matching section in the future.

post #36 of 2015

No detachable cables?! O_o

post #37 of 2015
Thread Starter 

I have brought this up to Grzegorz and he said he will revisit detachable cables, but that doesn't help anything now.

post #38 of 2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

I have brought this up to Grzegorz and he said he will revisit detachable cables, but that doesn't help anything now.


I have talked with Gregorz recently and the topic of replaceable cables being absent was that he hadn't found a way to do it without worsening the sound quality of the headphones. The current system lead to a decline in audio quality. He said they would like to experiment with this in the future, he would have to be certain that it wouldn't be at the cost of audio quality.
post #39 of 2015

Hello. I am getting a pair of REF 5 from Spiral Ear. I am looking into what amp to drive them. Now i have a Ibasso D12 which I will be using with my Macbook. I was thinking about getting the Headstage Arrow. For starters it will be used with my iPhone (airplane mode) later an iPod of some kind. Do you think that would be okay for the REF 5? If you have a better suggestion i would like to hear :) The music I listen to is mainly rock, progressive rock, prog metal, electronic. So no classical or no jazz.

post #40 of 2015
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by helledie View Post

Hello. I am getting a pair of REF 5 from Spiral Ear. I am looking into what amp to drive them. Now i have a Ibasso D12 which I will be using with my Macbook. I was thinking about getting the Headstage Arrow. For starters it will be used with my iPhone (airplane mode) later an iPod of some kind. Do you think that would be okay for the REF 5? If you have a better suggestion i would like to hear :) The music I listen to is mainly rock, progressive rock, prog metal, electronic. So no classical or no jazz.


Congratulations, you are in for a real treat!  The D12 should be a good match with the 5-way as it has a good level of detail (same DAC chips as in the S:flo2).  The iPhone however is limited in resolution, even with the line out in comparison with better DAC sections of higher end DAPs.  With my iPhone 3G I really didn't notice much difference between the headphone out and line out to the Pico Slim, just a slight edge for the LOD->Pico Slim in the bass region and ever so slight soundstage size increase.  I would recommend something like the 601, 602, 801, CK4, or even S:flo2 (if you can stand the interface) for on the go, but you will have to carry 2 devices.  IMO it is well worth it, but I would pair the iPhone with the 5-way and determine for yourself if it is OK.  You will have the D12 for comparison and can go from there.  

 

Also, I am not sure what bitrate your music is, but using a lossless format will result in a better overall experience since the 5-way can resolve more detail than anything else I have ever heard, so the more info in your music the better.  I have been surprised by some of my older classic rock or some electronic that has details I didn't know were there!

 

Let us know your thoughts on the 5-way when you get them.

post #41 of 2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by helledie View Post

Hello. I am getting a pair of REF 5 from Spiral Ear. I am looking into what amp to drive them. Now i have a Ibasso D12 which I will be using with my Macbook. I was thinking about getting the Headstage Arrow. For starters it will be used with my iPhone (airplane mode) later an iPod of some kind. Do you think that would be okay for the REF 5? If you have a better suggestion i would like to hear :) The music I listen to is mainly rock, progressive rock, prog metal, electronic. So no classical or no jazz.

I think you should ask Grzegorz from SE he'd give you some good advice

 

post #42 of 2015
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellmagnussen View Post

Thank you both for your replies. I use Alac and all of my music is in this format - that's why idevices are lucrative:) but you are right Joe - I should take it from the D12 and see. I spoke to Gzregorz and he uses one of Ray Samuels amps. So that is also a possibility. But looking at the arrow and the pico slim you think the pico is the best, Joe?


I have heard the Arrow 4G prototype and it is far superior to my 12 HE version Arrow, more on par with the Pico Slim, so it is really a personal preference.  The Pico Slim is more neutral with brighter tendencies while the Arrows are on the warmer side and offer options the Pico Slim doesn't.  But again, I would get a 601/801/SK4/S:flo2 over using an iPhone instead of an amp, or get a external iPhone bit perfect DAC such as the Cypher Labs Algorhythm Solo for the best possible on the go performance.  I was surprised by the minimal at best difference the Pico Slim made when paired with my iPhone vs. the headphone out, so I question how much an amp will help, at least when paired with an iPhone.

post #43 of 2015

Thank you - I will take that into consideration :) I will get a 601 on loan when i receive my REF 5. So I can try it out. What I don't like about that or others of that kind is the battery life. I know my iPhone is BAD - but I use that for other things, so I charge that every night. But thanks a lot :) I am looking forward to hear the 601 - I heard much good about it. 

 

BTW - how are your REF 5, still happy with them?

post #44 of 2015
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by helledie View Post

Thank you - I will take that into consideration :) I will get a 601 on loan when i receive my REF 5. So I can try it out. What I don't like about that or others of that kind is the battery life. I know my iPhone is BAD - but I use that for other things, so I charge that every night. But thanks a lot :) I am looking forward to hear the 601 - I heard much good about it. 

 

BTW - how are your REF 5, still happy with them?


That is great that you will be able to borrow a 601; looking forward to your thoughts.

 

And yes, I am still very happy with them sound wise, but I still need to send them back for a refit as they are uncomfortable after extended periods but Grzegorz is trying to figure out how to receive them back from the US without issue with exhorbanent Polish customs charges.

 


Edited by average_joe - 8/10/11 at 12:30am
post #45 of 2015

 

Aw - thats a shame. This time I am in the right part of the world (inside EU). When I have to buy things from outside EU I have to pay A LOT in taxes and fees to the postal service. But I can't wait to get the phones. I have tried the Cowon J3 the last days with my Westone 3 - and I really like it. A lot better sound than from my iPhone. I have been looking into the CK4 from Colorfly lately - have you heard that one?

 
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Review: Spiral Ear SE 5-way Reference - A new level of resolution? (Review posted 5/15/12)