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post #106 of 366

@i2ehan this thread is very impressive! Just got this from headfi subscriptions.

 

I too am to write a comparison on my top-tier iems and right now I cannot, since I still have limited time and knowledge on how to describe them as well. For me to engage in such write-up is very difficult because there are a lot of variables that may change their comparison. For example, my favorite iem for all-time is SM3, but this is because I got a very good combo amp and eq with the J3. So when you review iems with another DAP like my 3GS, or coupled with amps, it will be another thing. I also have the W4, UM3X, JVC FX-700, DBA-02, JH16 and coming ES5, and accessible EX1000 and CK10 as I sold it to my friend. I know there will be some differences on what we here on our iems, but preferences apply in every individual along with DAPs/AMPs/DACs, etc. For me it's a bold move to write a review and comparison without making mistakes on their description as I am not experienced enough compared to reviewers here. But I always trust my ears, only that I cannot trust my choice of words well in terms of audiophile technicality.

 

But I believe you are doing great, I am indeed inspired of your writing a review. Keep it up!

 

 

post #107 of 366
Thread Starter 

Much appreciated my friend, thank you for your kind words and I do urge you to follow through with a write-up, if and when the time permits. Experienced or not, I too trust my ears, and while I'm a complete novice at best, I don't find it all that difficult to express what it is I hear. Though I'm not even accustomed to a quarter of the glossary terms yet, I feel I'm able to get my point across, as subjective as it may be. In fact, a good friend of mine informed me today that she was able to understand and make sense of my write-up. That brought a smile to my face, because she couldn't possibly care less about earphones, and is satisfied enough with her stock iPod buds. Hell, I even envy her at this point, or at least my wallet does. rolleyes.gif

 

There are indeed too many "variables' to consider, and I don't believe there's any doubts as to whether an amp potentially "improves" a listeners experience, as I've witnessed it first hand with my Headstage, and have grown out of any possible skepticism. Could you kindly provide just a quick summary with regards to the EX1000, UM3X, FX700, and DBA-02? What stands out and sets one apart from the other IYO? I know it's a lot to ask for, but be as brief as you want. I'd just like to hear/learn whatever I can from your experience. biggrin.gif

post #108 of 366
Thread Starter 

As was the case with the W4 against the SM3, the UM3X is slowly beginning to win me over, while the SM3 is only behind by a hair or two. Having taken into consideration that my Headstage will be with me practically everywhere I go, I've gone track for track with the two, and am heavily favoring the UM3X when amped, while only slightly when unamped. The main distinction between the two, when amped, owes to the fact that there are certain configurations which tighten the soundstage and tame the spectrum. With the SM3's, the amps various configurations seem to sacrifice one thing or another at the cost of its soundstage, while the UM3X has such a large soundstage that there's so much more room to spare, so to speak. Not to mention, comfort is clearly not the SM3's strong point. If I am to say the UM3X comes out on top, when all is said and done, it only means I won't rest my case until I've at least demoed the SM3 V2 for myself. It simply leaves too much to the imagination! wink.gif


Edited by i2ehan - 5/17/11 at 10:25pm
post #109 of 366

to me the soundstage of the w4 was much wider than on the um3x. the um3x puts all the sound just in your head, while the w4 expands outside the head. quite interesting, how different ears notice soundstage.

post #110 of 366
Thread Starter 

I believe this'd hold true when the W4 is heard at a much louder volume. I experienced what you mentioned, but the UM3X's soundstage reaches ranges above the W4 IMO, hence why it quite literally puts "all the sound just in your head", while the W4 is all around centered to my ears. Indeed, it also amazes me as well just how diverse our listening experiences are; but hey, it only adds to the flavor of life! wink.gif

post #111 of 366

Holy shizzle smokes! And I thought I was bad for spending so much on IEM.

 

Anyway, excellent write ups and good effort! Though, be sure you have the time to carefully listen to all those IEMs. I have realized that allowing a little 'sink-in' time for an IEM can pull a very different impression in the long run.

 

Anyway, keep up the good work. I can't wait to see more from this thread. biggrin.gif

post #112 of 366

Great writeup, it seems that we hear things quite the same. The only thing that caught my attention was that I didn't really hear the UM3x quite the same when I had them. I'm starting to think I didn't give them enough of a chance before I sold them. And it's possible that the sound tubes needed a cleaning. While the mids were upfront and decent, I heard the UM3x as muffled and the treble seemed completely absent. There just seemed to be an entire veil over the spectrum like I needed an ear cleaning or something. Your impressions of the UM3x are quite interesting and I think I might give them another shot. If they turn out to be how you described them, they may be what I'm looking for.

 

I loved the SM3 and the W4, but agree with you totally on the fact that the SM3's midrange won me over due to its sweet and lush intimacy. The W4, while the most technically competent, and almost ruler flat balanced, was a bit too good, to the point that its balance made it not as exciting as the SM3. I personally prefer an engaging presentation and I am a lover of lush upfront mids (the RE262 and SE535 mids were to die for). The thing with the SE535 is that it was too weak in the bass and the treble a bit too rough. The RE262 was nearly ideal for me, but its high impedance and difficulty of driving it made me ultimately sell them. I think you should try the RE262 if you aren't avert to carrying around an amp.

post #113 of 366
Thread Starter 



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EraserXIV View Post

 

I loved the SM3 and the W4, but agree with you totally on the fact that the SM3's midrange won me over due to its sweet and lush intimacy. The W4, while the most technically competent, and almost ruler flat balanced, was a bit too good, to the point that its balance made it not as exciting as the SM3. I personally prefer an engaging presentation and I am a lover of lush upfront mids (the RE262 and SE535 mids were to die for). The thing with the SE535 is that it was too weak in the bass and the treble a bit too rough. The RE262 was nearly ideal for me, but its high impedance and difficulty of driving it made me ultimately sell them. I think you should try the RE262 if you aren't avert to carrying around an amp.


The statement above is absolutely spot on with my own reasoning for having preferred the SM3 over the W4. It really does fall nearly ruler flat, and needs that bit of "excitement" or "thrill" that's an absolute must for any EDM track! It's refreshing to hear that you had the very same experience; makes me a little more confident with regards to how "offset" my impressions may be when compared to others, though there's absolutely nothing wrong with that; I'm content with what I've written, and as often as I go back for a second look, everything I've mentioned reflects exactly what I hear. Regarding the RE262, your statement caught my attention, and hopefully in time, my wallet. wink.gif


Edited by i2ehan - 5/18/11 at 12:02am
post #114 of 366

Quote:

Originally Posted by i2ehan View Post


The statement above is absolutely spot on with my own reasoning for having preferred the SM3 over the W4. It really does fall nearly ruler flat, and needs that bit of "excitement" or "thrill" that's an absolute must for any EDM track! It's refreshing to hear that you had the very same experience; makes me a little more confident with regards to how "offset" my impressions may be when compared to others, though there's absolutely nothing wrong with that; I'm content with what I've written, and as often as I go back for a second look, everything I've mentioned reflects exactly what I hear. Regarding the RE262, your statement caught my attention, and hopefully in time, my wallet. wink.gif


 

wink.gif I agree, it is quite reassuring when someone is hearing things the same as you, even if it differs a bit from other people. That's when you know the person is truly writing it as they hear it, which I should be the best (and the only way) to review something.

 

One note regarding the RE262 is that there are two versions currently out. One that is terminated in a normal 3.5mm TRS mini plug, and one that is terminated in a balanced 3.5mm TRRS mini plug and requires an adapter to be switched to the normal mini plug. The RE262 that is being sold on the head-direct website is the one that requires an adapter. You can find one that is normally terminated in the For Sale Forum as it was only available during a limited run when it was pre-released in a package deal with the HM-602. I think there are a couple in the FS Forum which are at very good prices as well.

Also, some people have stated the odd shape of the RE262 makes it annoying to wear, but I personally had no problem with them. I preferred to wear them over the ear, and I did so with no problems using the biflange.

post #115 of 366
Thread Starter 

So for today's update, I'm beginning to edge away from the UM3X and back towards the W4. I'll explain. When I initially posted my impressions, I mentioned how the UM3X may "skew reality" for some listeners, and I'm beginning to fall within that category, ever so slightly. I came across SO many tracks where the music simply felt like it was "dispersed in the air" with the UM3X as opposed to "in your head" with the W4, and I said to myself, "I remember just how good the W4 sounded with these same tracks." And so, I went back and forth, yet again, this time between the W4 and UM3X, and would have to say, the W4 gains the edge over the UM3X's somewhat exagerrated soundstage IMO.  Now I simply can't wait for the SE535 to enter the competition, as it'll be competing with the big boys!


Edited by i2ehan - 5/18/11 at 11:01am
post #116 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by i2ehan View Post

Going from the UM3X and SM3's, it's alsmot as though the W4's sound signature is slightly recessed when in direct comparison, which of course owes entirely to the fact that the W4 doesn't give emphasis to any one area of the spectrum, but equally represents each IMO.
For me it's vocals that sometimes sound recessed or further backstage.
post #117 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by RADI0HEAD View Post

For me it's vocals that sometimes sound recessed or further backstage.
 


Since I like upfront mids, this is the impression that I get too. The mids more than anything else lose the excitement.

post #118 of 366

Wow, what a great and detailed review. Thanks.

post #119 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by sofastreamer View Post

to me the soundstage of the w4 was much wider than on the um3x. the um3x puts all the sound just in your head, while the w4 expands outside the head. quite interesting, how different ears notice soundstage.



popcorn.gif

post #120 of 366
Thread Starter 
As I was heading out today, I thought to myself, which of my top picks is most practical for me to bring with me? If I bring the UM3X, I'll probably encounter a least a dozen tracks where the music will sound dispersed and airy. If I bring the SM3, it'll definitely sound great, but will leave my ear red after a few hours (no exaggeration here, my ear was in fact red, as was pointed out to me by my concerned sister, due to the sharp squared off corners of the SM3). If I bring the W4... hell I really can't think of any reason not to! And so I did.

After nearly 4 hours of non stop progressive, I'm in heaven! The comfort made me forget about the SM3's altogether, and the completely unexaggerated, spacious and centered soundstage, without any over emphasis across the entire spectrum made me fall in love all over again with the W4's! As often as I've tried to find a sound better suited for my ears, everything else seems to lose it's edge after a day or two. I believe in my case, I initially become overly excited with a "new" feel, which thus far, pretty much every single top tier has brought me (the TF10 is still a mystery to me). That "new" feel never disappeared for me with the W4, simply because the W4 is the ONLY IEM thus far that has been able to sound equally as good with any single track I throw at it, no exaggeration! While it's true that there are times I encounter a track which I know the SM3 would have made slightly more exciting, or a track where the UM3X would have dominated the soundstage, the W4 is overall the most satisfying! It practically adapts itself to my entire collection!

I never said my impressions weren't subject to change, though the main reason I reconsidered the W4 was due to the above statement, so thank you sofastreamer for making me once again discover what it was that won me over in the first place! I took your statement into heavy consideration, and since the W4 is easily enjoyable at much higher volumes than both the UM3X and SM3, it was much more vibrant and exciting for me today than was ever before. Nevertheless, I still hear practically the opposite of what you mentioned; to my ears, the W4 fills my entire head, while the UM3X definitely expands outside of it. biggrin.gif
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