I'm in the very same boat my friend, it all boils down to the whether the V2's price is justified or not, based on the "improvements" it offers. I've tried the biflanges; in fact, I've tried all the tips. Only the large comply's fit, while the rest slip out. Yes, I have large ear canals. I've always had to reach for the largest tips provided, regardless of the IEM. The large comply's are the only ones that provide me with a good enough seal that they aren't prone to nidging out like the rest.
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Top Tier Showdown (Top Pick Announced) - Page 7
Gear mentioned in this thread:
I don't want to start taking names, simply because if I do, my asking price may differ from that persons, and I don't want to make any promises I can't honor. nonetheless, I'll of course let everyone know here when my ad is up. I hope you understand my friend/
On a side note, I'm not sure if anyone happened to notice, but it looks like the EX1000 will indeed be joining the competition! Though it's being shipped from outside the States, and may take up to a week or so to arrive. Trust me, I can wait...
Curiosity killed the cat, and stole my wallet...
From time to time, whenever I come across a brilliant track, I pull out all the guns and test each one; the following track allowed me to do just that: LINK
The difference between the competition is quite clear to me as it stands. But before the W3 and UM3X arrive sometime today, here's to yet again summarize, in case I'm now hearing something different. I say that because it isn't until your ears have heard something "better" or rather, more suitable for your own taste, that you begin to perceive things differently. Thus I wanted to see whether the SM3 (my current favorite) really made it clear for me where the rest of the competition stood.
CK10: As imagined, ones attention is drawn immediately to the much higher sound signature, all together. The highs predominate, and the bass, while heard, needs to be felt IMO. It's what makes EDM, EDM. This is where I draw the line with the CK10, only to say that it is brilliant at what it does, brings the music as forward and in your face as possible. Thus, nothing has changed here.
IE8: The lows are so warm and controlled, and the sub-bass is very difficult to match IMO. The IE8 is a bassheads dream phone, and is well suited for all genres of bass prominent music. I still enjoy it just as much as I had day one, though isolation is sub par, and the seal isn't nearly as good as the CK10, W4, of SM3, though YMMV of course. The only change worth mentioning is how when I hear the W4 and SM3 sounds amped (coupled with bass boost), and feel as though this is as good as the sub-bass gets, the IE8 brings me back to reality; it's the star of the show here, no doubt about it.
TF10: The TF10 is the stranger in the midst. It's very difficult to put my finger on what makes the TF10 stand out. It's sound signature is forward, with respect to the entire sound signature altogether. In other words, the higs, mids and lows, while deeper, present much more forward than say the IE8. The TF10 is also no stranger to brilliant lows, and the bass is easily enough to satisfy just about any EDM listener. It's tight, warm and very well balanced. The highs and lows appear to steal the shine from the somewhat recessed mids, which is made much more obvious to the listener with mid vocals (as per this track). Hence it's not at all a con here; simply a matter of preference. To me, the TF10 is a great recommendation for EDM, and falls just short of the IE8 for any bass heavy music, especially at it's price, to which I personally feel, you simply need not look elsewhere sub $150. I'd say quite a bit has changed here, since the more I listen to the TF10, the more it grows on me, especially when amped, which is a different story altogether.
W4: The fit and comfort of the W4 leave me wishing the SM3 was of the very same quality. It's definitely a trade off here, between the two. There isn't a day where I'd prefer the SM3 to the W4's comfort and fit. It makes me wish I never had to take them out! While all the previous IEM's listed were tested at the same volume (since I found it sufficient for my taste), the W4 makes a very clear distinction here. It's SO much more tolerable to higher volume levels, at which there's just absolutely no distortion and remains as balanced and centered as it had been before. The soundstage here is also unparalleled. No one area of the spectrum predominates the other. Everything is brilliantly in proportion, which is what separates it from the SM3. The vocals are channeled to the sides, as if on a 180 degree scale, owing to the wide soundstage. It's a most enjoyable IEM, but read on to see why the SM3 won me over. Not much has changed with my initial impression of the W4; it's clearly the most balanced of all current contenders, though dare I say, leaves "little" to be desired.
SM3: So what makes the SM3 stand out from the W4, and more over, the rest of the competition? Imagine the W4's sound signature come to life, and jump out at you, while the soundstage is at best 70% of the W4. Then throw in the TF10's bass (though tighter and more lively), and the SM3 is born. This where the Sm3 fills in that "little" left to be desired with the W4. What I love about the CK10's forward nature is similar to what I love about the SM3's.
If I had to however, between the W4 and SM3, I'd strictly base it on whichever of the two sounds best to my ears, amped. As difficult as it is for me to decide whether ot not I'm willing to trade off the W4's comfort and fit, and wider soundstage, for the SM3's much more lively presentation and punchy bass, yet narrower soundstage, my Headstage should help me decide here. Had I not owned an amp, I wouldn't even have considered this route, and would have juggled between the two for quite some time. So, when amped, which sounds best to my ears? The SM3. The vocals are not nearly as forward as the W4's. The sub-bass is twice that of the W4, under the exact same amp configurations, making the SM3 much more capable of producing that kick that every listener has come to love with just about any trance/EDM track. While the soundstage is still much wider with the W4 amped, the music doesn't come alive, strictly in comparison to the SM3 that is. Let's see where the W3 and UM3X take it today.
P.S. I should mention that most of my earphones have not been subject to "burn-in", if you believe that sort of thing (to each his own). I'm mentioning it only for those curious, and am not going to pass any further comments on that, as it will only side-track this thread and there are plenty of threads where that can be found/discussed.
Edited by i2ehan - 5/17/11 at 4:18pm
No worries my friend, I'm patient in these matters, and trust me, it was worth it's wait! I've posted my impressions of the UM3X and W3, and man oh man, it was an absolute blast! I'm completely torn between 3 now: UM3X, SM3, and W4. I seemed to have favored the SM3's presence over the W4, and now the UM3X's completely surrounding presence over the SM3, though it's not entirely definite. I'm so anxious to put these up against the EX1000, but that won't be for quite some time, maybe even a week and a half from now (hopefully sooner). I'm beginning to surprise myself day by day, as there is some heavy competition out there, all of which falls within relatively the same price ranges (not MSRP of course). Meanwhile, I'm gonna head back to "studying" my UM3X's.
Yay ! another UM3x convert !! I think those SM3's get way too much attention, and are more fragile.But they definitely have their followers here. I look forward to future posts, if only I had your resources !
While vocals are better, more realisticaly represented with the SM3's than on the UM3X's, the UM3X's soundstage is just stunning! It's virtually down to strict preference, nothing more! When the music hits, the UM3X leaves me with a smirk as wide as the Grinch. The same goes for the SM3's vocals, which on the UM3X's are slightly brighter than on the SM3's, hence more prone to sibilance. Decisions decisions...
Edited by i2ehan - 5/17/11 at 3:31pm
It's official, the competition, as it stands, is directly between the SM3 and UM3X. As brilliant and balanced as the W4 is, my ears need that bit of forward range push that both the SM3 and UM3X provide! 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 my intents and purposes, it's not nearly as exciting as the SM3/UM3X is. The day they release a UM4X... *wipes drool*
Thank you to all for the kind words!
My wallet read your above comment, and expressed the same feelings. So it seems it's time to filter the competition out, at least with ones I'm absolutely sure of. I've listed them for sale, as can be found here.
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