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post #76 of 366

Just wanted to say a thank you to i2ehan! I've been following your thread here since you posted it, and great job so far! I've been looking for another set of IEMs to try out, and have been throwing around the idea of DBA-02, CK-10, and W4. The W4 at this point I think are the ones I will try out, once I hear back from EarphoneSolutions about their stock and when they should get some in.

Thanks again for taking the time to review and share your thoughts with everyone!

post #77 of 366
Thread Starter 

My pleasure my friend! I'm glad that, as subjective as it may be, the readers are enjoying this as much as I'm enjoying writing it! biggrin.gif

post #78 of 366

I'm interested in more of your impressions of the SM3 vs the W4. I've read some refer to the SM3's as somewhat dark due to laid back treble but I noticed you compared it's treble to the W4.  I've also read good things about the SM3 bass.  Is it as detailed as the W4 in the bass?

 

Also I think you should look into this product for use with your W4: 

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/504037/mini-review-digizoid-zo-portable-subwoofer

and another review of it:

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/553499/zo-what-the-heck-is-with-the-zo

It's a tiny package but a lot of fun!
post #79 of 366
Thread Starter 

At this point in time, that's mainly what it's boils down to for me: the SM3 vs W4; though the TF10 amped is a close contender, at least until the W3, UM3X, and SE535's arrive. I wouldn't call it dark at all, rather "deep", as both the W4 and SM3 have an all around deep soundstage, as does the IE8. The presence of the SM3's treble can be sensed more than the W4, and both are rarely ever prone to sibilance (though with the SM3, it's slightly ever so slightly more prone) but the two are similar with respect to their ability to completely cut out sibilance in most tracks I've tested. In my opinion, the more laid back treble would have to be the W4, as it's currently the most all around centered & balanced IEM. The mids are much more forward and exciting with the SM3, and the bass quality is great with both; it's the bass quantity that sets the SM3 apart from the W4. It's felt and heard, while the W4 channels it to be better heard than felt IMO. Hence both are excellent in their own rights. Given that the SM3 has a slight upper edge here pertaining to it's lows, it also sounds better when amped, especially when coupled with bass boost. I've had it in ever since it arrived, and found a remedy for the uncomfortable earpiece.

 

On another note, some will call me crazy, others creative (maybe even both tongue.gif), but I took the upper soft padding of a band-aid just small enough to wrap around the upper edge of the SM3, hence providing curvature around the top instead of the sharp and irritating edges. The difference is remarkable in comfort, and only in comfort alone of course. It's basically now padding my inner ear and has a better fit. The seal is just as it was before, which I have absolutely no complaints towards. biggrin.gif

 

By the way, that's a nifty little device, but with my Headstage amp already tagged alongside my HTC G2, the last thing I need is something else to carry. The Headstage provides as much bass as I could possibly ask for, and at times, easily exceeds that of the IE8's (while the IE8's are unamped of course)!


Edited by i2ehan - 5/16/11 at 5:31pm
post #80 of 366
Thread Starter 

I just can't seem to get past the presentation of the SM3's! Once the preorders are filled, I simply can't wait for the SM3 V2 impressions!

post #81 of 366

Nice writeups for the SM3 and TF10!  Impressive considering you haven't had them for very long.  Hopefully you continue to update with further impressions!

 

I've been thinking of getting a TF10 for awhile now...it seems like something I'd like.  But I don't have the money right now, unfortunately. :P

 

Oh, also, you should add a little "when amped" section to each review.  One question I've seen asked many times with higher-end IEMs is, "how do these respond to amping?"  While this depends largely on what amp you're using, it could be a useful section to have.

 

Oh, right, and if you want a nice amp that's cheaper than the Arrow, you should check out the Fiio E11.  It's been getting pretty good impressions, though only two people actually have one so far.  It should have a wider release later this month.

post #82 of 366
Thread Starter 

I usualy make subtle mention of the changes I observe when amped, though I'm afraid I just don't have the time to fiddle with all the possible configurations and find the best suited for each IEM. Though for my own purposes, I do put the Headstage to good use with each IEM. Check the second post for which I feel sound best when amped, of the current top contenders.

 

I came across the FiiO 11 when it was first mentioned in the forums, but will wait a while until there's more impressions of it. Meanwhile, the SM3 couped with the Headstage has made me forget the W4 for an entire day. The SM3 is really growing on me, and is easily able to hold its own against the W4 IMO!

post #83 of 366

Interesting impressions on the TF10s, especially considering how practically everyone here seems to think the mids are recessed and a bit boring (for the record, I don't). Great thread overall! ksc75smile.gif

post #84 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by i2ehan View Post

Then on that note my friend, I'd like to ask you; did you notice a difference post burn-in with the SM3's?


I am not a believer of burn-in, rather than experiencing any burn-in during my usage, earphone tips played a way bigger role as I've used different tips at different times. Personally the stock comply tips give the most muffled sound with a not so noticeable treble and bass compared to using sony tips (forgot what they are called, hybrids?), but the comply tips do give the best comfort, recently I just cut the front part of the complys to see if the sound can be improved a little while maintaining this comfort, and it in fact did ! As my cable is wearing out I am also considering to remold it into a full custom.

 

post #85 of 366
Thread Starter 

It's official ladies and gents, I've gone track for track, back and forth between the SM3 and W4. The SM3 has won me over, and having improved the comfort issue (for the most part), the SM3 sound signature comes out on top! To break it down further, here's why:

 

Comfort: W4 = SM3, only after the slight adjustment I made with the SM3 (see post above).

 

Seal: SM3 comply's > W4 comply's. Both are excellent in their own right, but the SM3 would be my preference here.

 

Treble: W4 = SM3; that doesn't go as to say they both share significant similarities here; it simply means I find both to do an excellent job, and don't prefer one over the other.

 

Midrange: SM3 > W4. They had me at "hello!" etysmile.gif

 

Bass: SM3 > W4. Need I explain again? SM3 = you feel and hear the music; W4 = hear the music more than you feel it. Hence, it's mostly preference here.

 

Soundstage: W4 > SM3; the W4 is ever so slightly wider all around, though the SM3's lows and mids make it extremely easy to forget everything else.

 

In short: The listening experience that the SM3's provides me is simply the best I've heard as of yet. When amped, they are an entirely different beast, and the Headstage, believe it or not, does a phenomenal job IMO, in taming the highs (impedence + gain, both on low/high settings; making it practically impossible for any sibilance to occur), in tightening the bass (bass boost on low/high, which puts the SM3/TF10's easily up to par with the IE8's), and in centering + widening the soundstage ever so slightly (via crossfeed set to low). I'd be willing to let the W4's go if it were to end here; but as you know, it certainly doesn't end here! I've yet to hear the rest of the contenders (which can be found in the second post), as well as some additional ones I hope to acquire for a third (and maybe final) round; including, but not limited to, the FX700, EX1000, e-Q5/Q7, DBA-02, and MTPC. wink.gif

post #86 of 366

Maybe you should also throw in the Hifiman RE262 and VSonic GR07 in there too for good measure. :P

post #87 of 366

I will be patiently waiting your review of the Shure SE 535's. I appreciate this thread and your reviews, as I am going to buy one of these IEM. I had already narrowed it down to the SE 535, Westone 4 or the SM3 V2. I will not be adding a band-aid to the SM3 V1 to  make it conform to my ear thought.  I had already ruled out the V1 due to their shape.  Can't wait till your 535's come in.

 

post #88 of 366
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by djohnson013 View Post

I will be patiently waiting your review of the Shure SE 535's. I appreciate this thread and your reviews, as I am going to buy one of these IEM. I had already narrowed it down to the SE 535, Westone 4 or the SM3 V2. I will not be adding a band-aid to the SM3 V1 to  make it conform to my ear thought.  I had already ruled out the V1 due to their shape.  Can't wait till your 535's come in.

 


etysmile.gif Desperate times my friend.

 

imag0102d.jpg

post #89 of 366
Thread Starter 

My Westones (W3 & UM3X) were expected to be delivered yesterday (Monday), and are re-scheduled for sometime today. More to come on that later this evening! Stay tuned, and my sincerest thank you goes out to all who've kept up with the reading and/or posted here. It's great to hear your feedback, and keeps me motivated!

beerchug.gif

post #90 of 366

Regarding the sound signature, please note the tips used. SM3s sound different with stock biflanges and the Complys, and I personally prefer the white Alpine biflanges. I heard ES recently revised their stock biflanges and widened the hole. I am going to order soon and try them, too.

 

Funny, the edgy design never really bothered me. I guess it's more of a personal comfort thing with the SM3s and does not generally apply for everybody. That said, I would love to try the SM3 v2 but wouldn't justify paying the price difference.

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