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Are We At The End Of The Line For IEM SQ Improvements? - Page 4

post #46 of 48

haha... perhaps the UM4X (should it come out) will be a pinch brighter and possess a larger soundstage...

Originally Posted by Spyro View Post

If UM3X were just a pinch brighter and the soundstage a little larger I would consider it a "perfect" IEM.  Couldn't begin to pick out any other faults with it.  And quite frankly, they are not faults.  Westone purposely made it sound the way it does since it is a stage monitor.  Talk about achieving their goal.  Well engineered piece of audio equip.


post #47 of 48

I think there would have to be a new driver technology to really make some improvements.


Maybe IEMs may have reached the point where it's almost perfect, it's only a question of how a company tune it's drivers.

post #48 of 48

I think there are some interesting developments up ahead. My general impression is that increasing miniaturisation is delivering some more experimental approaches to get around the two limitations of IEMs as they stand - physically smaller soundstage and a lack, or a different feeling of tactile bass. I'm just going to list some of the stuff I've seen that may point towards ways to improve sound quality or at least bring the listening experience closer to full size / speakers - then again these may all just be technological dead ends. A lot of these things seem to be carry-overs from fullsize speaker technology.


Bass chambers / vent designs:  There seems to be some experimenting among manufacturers with venting and how to achieve a stronger bass response, beyond simply putting holes in the enclosure or even in the BA designs. For instance those extra air chambers found in the Audio Technica ATH-CKS series. While I'm pretty sure that these follow the similar principles of speaker cabinet design of increasing the size of the enclosure for a given Q value, its pretty hard to deny that the CKS series deliver more actual bass feel than most IEM's out there. The new B&W C5 with the filter on the back seem to play with the same ideas of venting, this time with what seems like an aperiodic vent. It may be physically impossible (or at least, safe) to deliver the same feel of tactile bass in the ear, but then of course there is always...


Bone conduction: Seems like a technology that has some promise, even if all the current implementations are a bit sad. People have separate home theatre subwoofers blended in with speakers though, and the blending of bass notes carried through the bones vs through the ears must be possible one day.


Horn speakers: These can be seen in IEM's like the CK90Pro or the Miles Davis Trumpet earphones. While I'm pretty sure this is a technology that is going to go nowhere (afterall, apart from some die hards you don't really see horn speakers survive the natural selection process of speaker design.) they are still a high efficiency design and perhaps we'll see some interesting variations on the theme.


Hybrid designs: This really isn't a new technology so much as 'lets cram in different things in the same earphone and see what works'. Ie: the DDMs, or the older Super.Fi 5 EB. While these aren't the most balanced earphones out there, you don't generally see full size speakers composed of one single type of driver, so if miniaturisation allows it why not try seperate woofers/ tweeters / BA+ dynamic in earphones?


I'm sure there are plenty of other examples of weird and wacky ideas that one day might actually bear some fruit. Even the Sony PFR-V1's are curious enough to make me think, well, what if you could make a version that didn't prevent you from looking and sounding like a normal human being in public? The market is exploding for personal audio, and I'm sure we're going to see some better stuff yet.


On a related note, has anyone seen these? http://www.audiocubes.com/product_info.php?products_id=2988 I am so, so tempted to get them purely because of how offensive the idea seems to normal human decency.








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