I was very fortunate to be able to try a pair of Sony MDR-EX1000s. I had them for 4 days. On the second day I placed an order to get my own pair. Here are some comments I made to the person who kindly let me try their EX1000s; I mostly compared them to the Westone 4:
I managed to get a good fit from the get go. Am using my own large Sony hybrids, but the XL tips included are just as good. I don't really use IEMs outdoors so I won't be testing them out in windy weather.
The EX1000s are very, very good IEMs - best DD IEMs I've tried, no doubt about it. They remind me a bit of the TF10s, though the Sony's sound sig's not as V-shaped, with better mids than the TF10s, definitely, but I might prefer the TF10s slightly smoother treble.
I can see (hear) why some would prefer the W4s and others the EX1000s - both are excellent IEMs in their own right. I haven't found the Sonys to be better for some types of music and the W4s for other types; what I've found is that my preference is more dependent on recording & mastering type rather than type of music.
Mids I find better, fuller, a little more convincing on the W4s - mids is the frequency I attach most importance to. But, unlike the TF10's mids, the Sony's render mids very, very well.
Bass varies on type of music, but the Sony's bass, overall, is EXCELLENT. I guess there is slightly more mid-bass on the W4s and slightly more sub-bass on the Sonys. Don't know to what extent that affects the mids presentation, but on the whole I guess in the lower mids/ upper bass region the 4s deliver a more pleasing sound to these ears.
Treble: Here's where at times I'm having a little trouble with the Sonys. On some recordings the treble is very, very good (excellent even), on others it's a little bright, brighter than I like, and at higher volumes I know I'd get listening fatigue - it's not harsh, but brighter. Here's where I generally prefer the TF10s highs (from memory) and the W4's most of the time. On a couple of recordings the treble on the Sonys sounded a little grainy, only a little. I'm really nitpicking here as, on the whole, the Sony's overall sound presentation is very appealing, generally more exciting than the flatter (sort of) W4s presentation.
Because of all the above, I find W4s to have a slightly fuller sound, and the Sonys a little more hollow (for lack of a better term), though not in a bad way; the TF10s, by contrast, were similar to the Sonys but that hollow sound was sometimes a bit unappealing. I tend to prefer the fuller sounding W4s, but the Sonys are VERY appealing.
Not sure all of the above makes sense - I obviously need to do some more listening. There are some recordings where the Sonys get the upper hand and others - more so far - were the W4s have the edge. Would love to keep both.
From the notes I've taken of which artist/ album I prefer, the EX1000 was consistently my preferred choice for orchestral music! Not so with string quartets or chamber music which I tend to listen to more. But on symphonic music the EX1000s deliver a more convincing sound. On solo piano music it's odd as the sound on the Sonys sounds slightly more realistic (?), but the Westones sound fuller, which is another aspect of the real sound of a piano, ie the tonal balance of the Sonys was better but the overall sound was ever so slightly 'thin'. A similar thing I've found on string quartets, though violins and violas sounded more real with the Westones - I had problems with high notes of the violin (too bright sounding) with the Sonys and mid frequencies lacking a bit of body. Still the Sonys were very, VERY good all along.
BTW, I love the cable type on the Sonys: non-microphonic, looks pretty durable, and the ear guides actually work beautifully unlike the utter rubbish (new) Shure memory wire/ ear guides which are quite intrusive
I have just purchased the Sonys! Yes, after more time with them I'm really loving their sound sig and the list I've been compiling of artists/albums and my preferences is getting more even.
So, what I decided is that since my ES3X are similar sounding to my W4s (the ES3X ever so slightly better overall on more recordings) I'll keep the EX1000s and sell the W4s. Yes, as Americans would say, I'm really digging the Sonys.
The EX1000s are quite impressive, and they'll make a great match to my ES3Xs, different high quality flavours, no doubt. My W4s are already up for sale.
After 2 days with the Sonys I just fell in love with their SQ and 2 more days and my decision was only reinforced, and although the choice of which IEM (the W4s or EX1000s) is better is really a tough one, the Sonys most definitely made some of my favourite albums sound like no other IEM, including my beloved ES3Xs - high praise for the Sonys there.
Edited by music_4321 - 4/30/11 at 12:19am