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M-Fidelity (formerly Starkey Norway) SA-43 Custom IEM Review: Expansive Space + Options - Page 3

post #31 of 101
Thread Starter 

Let us know if you have any questions and if you get them, let us know what you think.

post #32 of 101

Yes, thank you. The main question I have is how are the SA-43 compared to JH13 Pro when it comes to musicality? I find the JH13 Pro not so musical - for me they are to correct and not so fun sounding, although I like the correct sound signature as well. For some music, especially electronica, they sound marvellous, but other genres can suffer a bit. Although I must say I like them very much, its just that I feel the icing of the cake is missing, if you know what I mean.


Edited by Oslo72 - 3/24/12 at 1:26pm
post #33 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

 


Thanks for sharing!  Yes, they are difficult to drive, especially in comparison with so many other CIEMs, and I actually think this is the most difficult to drive CIEM I own.  As far as the detail and attack, maybe you should try an aftermarket cable, which can help with that (I have reviewed several and posted my results with the SA-43).  I hope you get to the sound you want.

 

 


Well my cable is still the fixed version, so a cable opgrade is not gonna happen. I chose it because i prefer a soldered connection to a detachable options...

 

I cant complain about how the SA-43 sounds and how it is to drive, as i knew what to expect from your review before i put in my order.

 

I would like to try a brighter high-end source, and the Colorfly C4 might be an option, but i really dislike the design and size and initial bugs and lacking ui.

 

 

 

 

 

post #34 of 101
Have you considered iBasso's DX100?
post #35 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mython View Post



In my recent experience, everything you said also applies to Unique Melody's 'Miracle' CIEM, too. I suspect it is a combination of the low impedance and very-variable load a multiple balanced-armature IEM represents to the amplification/output stage of a DAP. Only a very well-designed (and low output impedance) amplification stage is able to really get to grips with such a CIEM, and keep it from getting out of control. This sounds a bit weird to anyone who hasn't experienced it for themselves - how can such a tiny, sensitive earphone be difficult to drive? Well, it's not about volume/SPL; it's about control, and if the CIEM is quite 'reactive', as a load, then control is not going to be easy unless the amplification stage is very well designed for the purpose. If a DAP has been designed for use with mass-market dynamic-driver earbuds then it should come as little surprise that it may struggle to handle a much more complex load, as may be the case with a multiple-driver custom IEM, to say nothing of the reactance of the capacitors and inductors of the crossover.

 

To be honest with you, I really doubt that a Sony Z-series DAP will have a sufficiently-decent amplification stage to really grab control of the SA-43s (or the UM Miracle), though it may do a reasonable job. Having spent so much on a very high-end CIEM, I would suggest you aim your sights higher than the Sony Z-series DAP (unless you are willing to use it with a portable amplifier). This recommendation has nothing to do with 'luxury' or egotism; it's about achieving what the SA-43 is really capable of, having already made a substantial investment in purchasing it.

 

Therefore, I would suggest you save for a better DAP, such as the iBasso DX100, HM 801, or Colorfly C4 - I don't deny that it's quite expensive but it's a serious audiophile DAP with a proper amplification stage, and it's actually not massively more expensive than the Sony Z-series. It is not much more than half the cost of your SA-43s and would be very, very likely to drive the SA-43s to within at least 90%+ of what they are capable of. A possible compromise might be the Hi-SoundAudio Studio V (lee730 is a big fan of the Studio V's sound, for example), but you'd have to check that for yourself before purchasing, as I'm not sure how serious the Studio V's class-A amp stage really is.

 

I'm not a wealthy man, but I am putting my money where my mouth is - having come to the above conclusions for myself, with my UM Miracles, I am making my finances stretch to an iBasso DX100 because I now know that anything less will make my Miracles a wasted investment.


How Miracle and SA-43 differ in how hard they are to drive i cant say. but the SA-43 have a lower sensitivity then most -  104db compared to Miracle's 116db.

 

The Ibasso will get overly expensive to get shipped to europe, and the only high-end dap i could get a hand on is the Colorfly, but i really dislike the design and size and its to me still a unfinished product with the bugs and features it has. The HM801 is not my thing and the Studio-V might aswell be put in the same bowl as the Sony Z for other reasons..

 

The Colorfly could soundwise be one i could prefer, but i want to try it out first..

 

 

 

post #36 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mython View Post

Have you considered iBasso's DX100?


Sure i have, but as stated i really have a problem with it being so expensive as it is, and with import tax and the very high retail price it has now.

 

The 700$ price tag it had before was more eatable, but thats over now..

 


Edited by Hemshemems - 3/24/12 at 4:15pm
post #37 of 101
Fair enough
post #38 of 101
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oslo72 View Post

Yes, thank you. The main question I have is how are the SA-43 compared to JH13 Pro when it comes to musicality? I find the JH13 Pro not so musical - for me they are to correct and not so fun sounding, although I like the correct sound signature as well. For some music, especially electronica, they sound marvellous, but other genres can suffer a bit. Although I must say I like them very much, its just that I feel the icing of the cake is missing, if you know what I mean.


The SA-43, and in fact also the SA-12 excel at recreation of space giving an alive and musical feel.  The detail levels aren't quite as high, and if the upper end of the JH13 is like the JH16, the upper mids on up are very different between the two.  If you like a lot of emphasis in that area, the SA-43 isn't the CIEM for you, but if that won't bother you, and you have a quality source or good amp, the SA-43 is a great choice IMO for a musical sound.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemshemems View Post

Well my cable is still the fixed version, so a cable opgrade is not gonna happen. I chose it because i prefer a soldered connection to a detachable options...

 

I cant complain about how the SA-43 sounds and how it is to drive, as i knew what to expect from your review before i put in my order.

 

I would like to try a brighter high-end source, and the Colorfly C4 might be an option, but i really dislike the design and size and initial bugs and lacking ui.


Yes, you told me about the cable before, if I now remember correct; sorry.  

 

I would try something from HiSoundaudio such as the Studio V as they are on the brighter side of things.  Or, the new Arrow G4 (if you don't mind using an amp) has a treble boost and the Pico Slim is a bright amp. Both are very small and could be used with just about any source.

post #39 of 101

Originally Posted by average_joe View Post
The SA-43, and in fact also the SA-12 excel at recreation of space giving an alive and musical feel.  The detail levels aren't quite as high, and if the upper end of the JH13 is like the JH16, the upper mids on up are very different between the two.  If you like a lot of emphasis in that area, the SA-43 isn't the CIEM for you, but if that won't bother you, and you have a quality source or good amp, the SA-43 is a great choice IMO for a musical sound.

 

I think that wont bother me because I find the JH13 Pro a little to bright when listening to some music. Especially cymbals often sound to sharp. Thanks.
 

 

 


Edited by Oslo72 - 3/25/12 at 5:21pm
post #40 of 101

average_joe: I must say you really have written some impressive articles. Very thorough and detailed. I am reading until my eyes get wet! Nice work!

post #41 of 101
Thread Starter 

Thank you!

post #42 of 101

Hmm

 

I got home on tuesday, and had my SA-43 on when flying back home and i was (un)lucky that the presence switch rocker had come off while i was resting my head..

 

Luckily i found it under the seat, damn its so tiny but i found it, and im trying to fit i back now..

 

Im awaiting a Colorfly C4 for some testing later this week...

 

I would like to try Hisound Rocoo BA or Studio, so Joe i would like to hear some comments on how BA handles the SA-43 when u get to that..


Edited by Hemshemems - 4/26/12 at 12:22am
post #43 of 101

My SA-43 has to go back to Norway again, cant fix the rocker myself without making a mess.. :(  And im getting new impressions done aswell for some new HF-2, and Alf can hopefully tweak my SA-43 for a bit better fit and isolation and get the last discomfort settled while he has them...

 

Joe: The soundtube lenght how much does it differ from other Ciems u have, is it a decent lenght for sound and isolation, i need to bring that up for ALF too while i has them?

post #44 of 101

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemshemems View Post

Hey

 

My impressions up until now is not the best, my ipod is what i usually use for now as the AHA-120 is too smooth sounding and only the bass quality gets upped af bit but resolution overall suffers..

 

The ipod as source is inferior, and my CEC TLXR cd player is to dark as source too..

 

So now my AHA-120 is up for sale, but there isnt really any good reason to buy a different sounding amp, tho pico slim and 2Stepdance seems to better match for the Starkeys..

 

I would like to try out the Sony Z1060-70, but the volume cap is a problem and if i decide to stop using an amp the power the Starkeys need would be insufficient..

 

To me the Starkeys are very hard to please (or i am), but Joe already did a good job pointing out the pro and cons and i can surely relate to what the Starkeys sound like, but i havnt got them to sound close to what i prefer..

 

It could have been nice if the presence switch would add more detail and attack rather then "widening" upper range frequencies, i only use it for poor mastered black metal thats too enclosed...

 

But the Starkeys dosnt let low bandwith/poorly ripped off, so its not bad in this way for me, crap in crap out is still stands and should be so with good Ciems..

 

To sum it up: 

 

They need some power and harder to drive then most other Ciems and they demand a good resolving source, that handles the wide soundstage it can deliver, if not so it just seems a tad uninspiring to listen to..

 


So it seems you are looking for my aggression, a more upfront sound? Did you look into the DX100? The Studio V will definitely fulfill this need but Im not sure if your Starkeys are super sensitive or not. If not the V should be great. Otherwise maybe the Rocoo BA would do fine. I'm gonna do a review on it so I'll let you know how it works with Sensitive IEMs. If you want good sound man you're gonna have to leave the ipod. There are much better sources out there.

post #45 of 101

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemshemems View Post

My SA-43 has to go back to Norway again, cant fix the rocker myself without making a mess.. :(  And im getting new impressions done aswell for some new HF-2, and Alf can hopefully tweak my SA-43 for a bit better fit and isolation and get the last discomfort settled while he has them...

 

Joe: The soundtube lenght how much does it differ from other Ciems u have, is it a decent lenght for sound and isolation, i need to bring that up for ALF too while i has them?

 

I know, custom IEMs can be frustrating, can't they? frown.gif

 

Still, I think when one eventually gets a successful fit and sound, it all becomes worth the pain! L3000.gif

 

I've learned to relax with the waiting times of months, and just... wait... all will be well in the end, even if it's not with the CIEM one originally thought it would be (I mean that from personal experience, not directed towards your SA-43).

 

Joe really respects the SA-43 and I really respect his opinion on CIEMs, so I expect the SA-43 sounds wonderful. I hope it brings you much pleasure when it is repaired and re-fitted for your ears.

 

 

 


Edited by Mython - 4/27/12 at 1:49am
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