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post #121 of 366

I think you'd find something I wrote a couple months ago quite interesting: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/544356/some-musical-musings-re262-sm3-w4-comparisons-and-impressions

post #122 of 366

Yup that's true with W4, it's more of an all-arounder, no-like/no-hate iem that I ever heard. It's starts as a balanced phone but as you grew into them, it will show you more and crave more on what W4 has to offer.


Eventhough, I still liked SM3's forward mids as my preference. biggrin.gif


BUT you haven't heard of the timbre champions EX1000 vs FX700 and analytical iems like DBA-02 vs CK10. Adding a lot of flavours and excitement to the iem history.


I heard MDs and Coppers (I liked their package which is a bang-for-buck for thier price) but still not an all-arounder for me. Though the Mids on the MDs are smooth enough to wow me and given they have dynamic sound bass, It's a love-and-hate thing for me on some of my songs.


I actually forgot why I sold my EX1000 and kept my FX700, but straight away I was impressed with both of them, never thought of how good dynamic driver iems was until I heard them and was shocked...though I challenged the FX700, and eq'd them alot until the spectrum became a overlly V-shaped (though they are not V-shaped) and still liked it! I never thought that I liked a eq with an iem like that since I heard and despised the W3. I remebered EX1000 smoothness and omg subbass. Though I prefered the highs of FX700, there's some quality that differentiated the sound signature of EX1000.


For DBA-02, I got the right fit from them and sold the CK10 right away, I cannot detect any large difference on them...maybe the mids, which I prefered the DBA-02 because of the difference in clarity. I haven't heard the Etymotic ERP/S, as they are also a great contender on this kind of iems or the new copy-iem of DBA-02 (I always forget this brand).


For me, I'm keeping my UM3X as a reference...though I may hear some tracks that SM3 and UM3X are the same but they have their differences too: in treble quality in smoothness and a tiny bit in soundstage. I can't even hear the differences of the soundstages of my BA iems, maybe because I'm more resolved on the dynamic iem FX700 soundstage which is IMO very wide.


So how do I use them? Given that I have a lot of options around...On-the-go, I prefer the DBA-02 on my iphone 3gs (given my J3 is out of battery) with long comply tips (they are very good imo) given the clarity. Then I cycle FX700(stock tips)/SM3(shure olives/double-flanges)/W4(comply tips)/UM3X(double-flanges) on my J3 with each eq available and song preferences. As for my JH16, I use it as my home rig with CLAS/SR71B.


post #123 of 366

@kingice10 thanks for your thoughts, can you give a little more impressions on how the UM3x and SM3 differ?

post #124 of 366
Thread Starter 


Originally Posted by EraserXIV View Post

I think you'd find something I wrote a couple months ago quite interesting: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/544356/some-musical-musings-re262-sm3-w4-comparisons-and-impressions

I'll put this plain and simple; excellent write-up! While I haven't (as of yet) heard the RE262's, given your representation of the SM3 and W4, I have a very good idea of what to expect from them based on your impressions.



The W4 is a peculiar IEM. It does almost everything right and it is hard to find fault with it. Every frequency (bass, mids, highs) are in the right place and it doesn't seem like there is a particular bias in regards to the frequency response. In comparison, the RE262 is definitely mid biased, while the SM3 is definitely mids and bass biased (but this does not mean that the highs are recessed or lacking in any way). On the W4, I could not discern which particular frequency was more "forward" in comparison with the others. There is not much coloration and it presents music in its purest form. However, don't think that this means that the W4 is boring, it is not boring at all. It really does depend on the song that you are playing through them and I feel the W4 are true to the reproduction of the sound through and through. Songs that are meant to be fun and exciting will sound fun an exciting, while songs that are meant to sound more mellow will sound more mellow. It's a very peculiar trait since I found that IEMs such as the SM3 and RE262 could make even "mellow" songs sound more exciting (which is not necessarily a bad thing and many times I miss them for this).


This being said, the W4 has a hint of warmness and maintains clarity through the whole spectrum. There is no "veil" that some other IEMs suffer from when they are warm. The bass hits somewhere inbetween the SM3 and RE262 in terms of quantity, and has a very nice and natural texture, it is very punchy with nice impact as well. While not as present as the SM3, the bass can be called up in bass heavy songs such as hip-hop and I never felt like I was thirsting for more bass. The mids are not as thick or forward as the SM3 or RE262, but are still very smooth and liquid. They can be very lush and sweet if the particular song calls for it, and more neutral when the song doesn't call for it (again, this is that peculiar trait). The highs are very smooth as well and definitely smoothed out from the ear-piercing W3 peaks. The extension is great and I felt the highs were in the perfect place. Sometimes on the SM3 I felt I wanted a little more treble presence, on the W4 this rarely happens. The W4 has the ability to deliver energy and sparkle in the highs when necessary (think cymbals and guitars in rock).


Your impression of the SM3/W4 practically mirror my own, as can be found throughout this thread. etysmile.gif


I discovered it only today, during my hours on end litening session with the W4, that they are beginning to pack more of a punch with regards to bass. However, it was made apparent to me, when I went back to the same tracks where I felt the W4 needed a bit more punch, that the bass had't changed as I thought it had, and instead seems to settle in with tracks where it's meant to settle in, and will suddenly surprise you when a on a different track it packs a more significant punch! I haven't encountered this with any of the others thus far, which adds yet another reason as to why it's so easy to fall in love with the W4's. As you mentioned, the W3 is definitely bright with some tracks, and hence more prone to sibilance; yet surprisingly, it's only the mids that seem recessed when compared directly to its highs and lows, which attract much of the listeners attention. The strikingly vibrant mids that the SM3 delivers are particularly the reason I'm currently juggling between the 2, but the W4 seems to be much more practical for me in the long run, owing to the fact that with regards to comfort, it's second only to the CK10 (which means it's close to perfect for my ears), and IMO, best represents the music as it was intended to be heard. redface.gif

post #125 of 366

I received my SM3 about 2 weeks ago, and had been doing something similar to what you're doing albeit with only three headphones and a *much* smaller budget lol.  That said, I tend to agree pretty much with your impressions on the SM3, including the issue of comfort.  However, I believe I read that you use complies so this might not be practical for you, but with the stock double flanges I am actually able to wear the SM3s slightly out of my ear while still achieving a solid seal and since the phones are so light it doesn't feel awkward for me at all.  I had the same comfort issues when I tried to actually have the housing completely in my ear, but now I can forget I have them in.  That said, I've enjoyed reading your impressions greatly and much appreciate the time you've spent writing all of these up!  It has been very informative reading.

Edited by Warlax - 5/19/11 at 7:14pm
post #126 of 366
Thread Starter 

Thank you my friend, and quite honestly, I enjoy reading everyones feedback just the same! beerchug.gif

post #127 of 366
Thread Starter 

Anyone with decent IEM's, top-tier or not, needs to tune in to Pandora Radio's Progressive / Electro House Radio station, NOW! That's an order! etysmile.gif I'm currently listening with my SM3's, and it's indescribable! eek.gif

Edited by i2ehan - 5/18/11 at 9:32pm
post #128 of 366

Excellent discussion here, I'm really enjoying reading everyone's different takes. I'm a drummer who uses IEMs onstage but also wants something that's fairly fun/enjoyable for personal listening. If I'm gonna spend 300+, I'd say it's fair to ask for both functions in one set of headphones!


I've really liked what I've read about the UM3x, and i'm extremely comfortable with its capabilities as an onstage monitor. I'm curious about the personal listening part though; I've heard conflicting information. I know it's got great sound-stage, strong, prominent mids, and crisp treble, but have heard different things about the bass. Some say it's punchy and impactful, but others seem to find it weak.


I'm coming from mere UM1s, but I want to get my moneys worth when I upgrade (which will be tomorrow hopefully). I guess I basically would ask UM3x owners (especially you, i2ehan) how you feel about the UM3x's low-end output? I understand it's accurate, quality bass, but is there enough? Is it fun to listen to? I'm not a basshead at all, but I want the bass drum to have some punch, etc. Please, I'd love to hear your opinions sooner rather than later! I have shows coming up, and really need to get my IEMs asap. Thanks guys.


EDIT: Forgot to mention that I do not want to use an amp. I can't afford one, frankly (college student=no spare cash...the IEMs are bad enough!) and I can't use one onstage so it wouldn't be worth the investment. Please regard all my questions with the assumption that it be only ipod>IEMs or laptop>IEMs, no amps or anything of that nature. Thanks.

Edited by johnsoft349 - 5/19/11 at 12:21am
post #129 of 366

I enjoyed this review!

I don't know why, but I like reading reviews on what people think of the W3. Guess I love it so much I want to know that other people are enjoying it.

post #130 of 366
Would it be better if I get a headstage arrow or a fiio e11
post #131 of 366
Originally Posted by Shaverz View Post

Would it be better if I get a headstage arrow or a fiio e11

Aren't you still deciding on an IEM?

post #132 of 366
Originally Posted by Shaverz View Post

Would it be better if I get a headstage arrow or a fiio e11

Can't really answer that until more reviews and comparisons of the E11 come out.  Still though, they're in different leagues...the Arrow costs a lot more than the E11 does, and has many more features.  Just depends on what you need.

post #133 of 366
Thread Starter 

@johnsoft349: to answer your question, I'd like to request the following from you my friend: send me the names of a few tracks or even youtube links to specific tracks fit to your taste where I can listen for the lows/bass response. I'll do my best to describe what I hear, both with and without comparison to the rest, for your wallets convenience. wink.gif


@uruha: the W3 is no stranger to the top tiers, and while the mids aren't nearly as striking as say the SM3's, I hope that all readers bare in mind that much of my impressions are in direct comparison between all the current IEM's I've heard. In other words, if one is "lacking" even the slightest bit anywhere in the spectrum, it's only lacking to my ears since they've heard something better fit for my taste (YMMV), eg. IE8's captivating sub-bass which others simply can't match (though some may come close, especially via the Headstage's high bass boost setting), or the UM3X's soundstage which surround you more than any of the other contenders, etc. Similarly, the TF10 also deserves it's mention here as a top tier, and until your ears have heard something you find more "enjoyable", you'll find almost any one of these top tiers satisfying; I say almost because they all do have a very unique sound signature in their own right, with only subtle similarities across the spectrum. It all boils down to preference! smile.gif


@Shaverz: It'd be misleading for myself, or anyone else who hasn't thoroughly listened to both amps, to tell you which is "better". There's just too many personal factors one must take into consideration. I'd say start with the cheaper of the two, and work your way up. If you buy the E11, and aren't content with what you hear, sell it back and go for the Headstage. For me personally, I find myself slowly but surely pulling away from the Headstage day by day. Don't get me wrong, it does EXACTLY what it's meant to, and does it well! From the bass boost to the impedence, the differences can easily be appreciated. But is it $300 worth? In this case, I see the glass as half empty, while others see it as half full ;the glass being my wallet of course! tongue.gif


I'm still quite torn between the SM3 and W4; many tracks just come to life with the SM3's mid presence and bass punch, while the W4 also brings many tracks to life and is MUCH more tolerable at higher volumes, keeping everything crisp and clear; with the added bonus of comfort, which I'm sure you've heard me mention countless times here. There are times when it fits in snug during the first couple minutes, and I've also begin wearing them with the earpeice out, since the comply's are large enough to provide a tight seal either way (as Warlax mentioned with his double flanges). biggrin.gif


Oh, and in other news... the DBA-02 has officially entered the ring! etysmile.gif Soon to arrive hopefully by early next week. Stay tuned my friends! wink.gif

post #134 of 366

Awesome, great to hear you're expanding more!  How much more can you afford to buy right now?  I think that the RE262 and VSonic GR07 should be put up here as well...but if you put up every IEM that's worthy of being "top tier" up here you're gonna be stretching your wallet and free time pretty thin. :P


(also I would buy that TF10 from you, but alas, I'm currently in china and even when I'm back at home I still live in canada...not to mention that right now, I simply cannot afford it.  oh well.)

post #135 of 366
Thread Starter 

This is almost like a never ending journey for me, and if ever I need any inspiration, |joker| immediately comes to mind. This is a very very addictive hobby, and I'll always be the first to admit it: color me an addict. wink.gif


Currently, my spending is only limited by what I'm able to sell back. I'll be in a more comfortable position once I find buyers for the IE8's (purchased absolutely brand spankin new) and the TF10's (used only but a few hours, so they too are practically new as well). I too am leaning towards the GR07's and RE262's, but not before the FX700's and Ortofons (unless of course I'm able to find a reasonable price for whichever one of the 4).


As an update, I'm having a blast going neck and neck with the SM3 and W4. The SM3 is slightly more brighter than the W4, but in a very pelasing way! Not to mention, it definitely packs more punch than the W4, and the mids just bring the music to life! The SM3's make me want to get up and dance with every track; with them the music is just so vibrant and lively, while the W4 leaves me thinking "damn, this sounds amazing!" Whenever I go back and forth between the two, I'm always so surprised to find that the two have 2 completely different signatures, yet both are equally addictiing! Until I hear something that distinctively sets itself apart from the SM3/W4, I'll continue and enjoy both. etysmile.gif

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