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Compared: EX1000, CK100, and FX700

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

EDIT: I will be doing only a review for the UM3X as I no longer have it on my person. However, I will still be able to compare the EX1000 and CK100 before my EX1000 goes bye-bye. And finally, there will be an addition to this thread later this week... ;)

 

For whatever reason, I haven't found anything on all three of these IEM's compared directly so I figure I might as well go ahead and compare all of them. I'll be A/B'ing them throughout the weekend; my time today is limited. Reviews will be forthcoming, I just wanted to get this thread out there.

 

UM3X review ETA: Sometime Saturday, or Sunday

 

EX1000 review ETA: Done!

 

CK100 review ETA: Done!

 

The comparison will be done after I'm done reviewing all three IEM, so you can expect that sometime next week.

 

Background: This being my first comparison/multi-review, I think I should give a run-down of who I am and why I am reviewing all three of these IEMs. I have been fascinated with audio all of my life stemming from my father's interest of it. He actually was the one to push me towards pursuing hi-fi audio in the first place because he himself use to do the same thing with speakers and amps. Anyway, skip to a young me in the 8th grade, ogling the Shure SE500 due to their high price and rating on cnet.com. I became obsessed with finding out more about them and other IEMs, so that's when I stumbled upon Head-Fi and began to buy IEM after IEM. I finally ended up with IEM that cost significantly more (MSRP) than the SE500's and I couldn't be happier. But enough of that, lets get down to what I have for sources.

 

Sources: I don't know if I'm the only one on Head-Fi that thinks this, but I don't think putting IEMs on a home rig to judge how they will perform portably gives them a fair shake. They are IEM after all; they should be portable. Regardless, I don't have anything high-end DAC/amp wise. I'll be using my trusty Clip+ (rock boxed) and iPod Touch 3G. As you can guess, I will be judging the IEMs not only on the way they sound, but how one is able to use them portably.

 

Now for the main event... Let the reviewing begin!

 

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Sony EX1000 (The Beast)

 

This is where pictures will go!

 

Packaging: This is one thing that really surprised me when I first got them. Very clean, very large, very elegant packaging. It screams expensive; I mean, the things were $800 at one point. So what do we have in it: a dizzying array of tips (7 Hybrid tips, and 3 "isolator" tips), a leather carrying case, and the EX1000's themselves. The only gripe I have with the packaging is the blasted tab; I ripped it because the damn thing wouldn't come loose.

 

Build Quality/Comfort: Being made out of magnesium alloy, I don't see these IEMs failing very quickly. That, coupled with the removable cables makes the EX1000 one of the best built IEM I've had. Some people might find the ear guides annoying, especially if you like to have things perfect like me, but once you get over the fact that you'll never have them perfectly fitted to your ears they are rather comfortable. Not the most comfortable IEM, but close. They don't go all the way into the ear canal. Depending on what tips are being used, they should only go in just a few millimeters. 

 

Isolation: I am in the minority here, let me just say that. There are legions of people with the EX600/1000 that think they isolate terribly and pick up an enormous amount of wind noise. While the wind noise observation is true, the isolation issues people are finding is definitely not true in my case. I think they isolate about 70% of what the UM3X's isolate, so it's really not that bad. Actually, for some sick, strange reason I like the wind noise. Do not ask me why; I myself don't know the answer to that one haha.

 

Sound

 

     -Bass: There are some IEMs that have too much of this, like the IE8. Then there are IEM that have to little, for me, like the ER4P. I think the EX1000 draws a happy medium between the to. They have fantastic texturing with what seems like no roll off for sub-bass (I don't have a freq. response graph on me, so don't hold me to that.) The bass on the EX1000 doesn't have the most quantity, but I can't say that I am wanting whenever I listen to bass heavy music like hip-hop with the EX1000's. There is literally nothing bad I can say about the bass; it's there when you want it, and gone when it isn't needed. Also, I should mention the lack of mid-bass hump. I dislike mid-bass very much, so not having to EQ it out makes me very happy. 

 

     -Midrange: Oh I see, another part of the EX1000 that has nothing wrong. Lets see, the midrange is fantastic. I could leave it at that, but I'm so cynical as to leave my fine readers wanting. So this is why the EX1000 succeeds at having incredible midrange: it isn't super pronounced and isn't recessed. The mids seem really spacious, like the singer is a couple yards in front of you. It has a certain liveliness to it that I can't put my finger on, although that may be due to the romantic-type of sound-signature of the EX1000's, but more on that later.

 

     -Highs/Treble: Whew, I thought I wasn't going to criticize the EX1000 on anything for a second there. The treble can be a little finicky on the EX1000's. It still has a lot of detail and extension, but there is a pretty noticeable peak in the 8khz range that will make you jump when you hear it. It's especially noticeable with techno/electronic music, so beware. Also, there is a certain graininess to it. At first when I heard people describe the treble as grainy, I thought they were crazy. But I recently discovered that it's ever so slightly grainy. That's all that I can bash the EX1000 on, the rest is phenomenal. Great extension, amazing detail, and very lively/hot. Everything someone could want in a top-tier (treble wise.)

 

     -Soundstage/Imaging: I like to group soundstage and imaging together as I feel they benefit from one another. So as all of you might know, the EX1000 has been cited in this review, and many others, as having a romantic sound signature. What does that mean, you might be saying. That means that the music just flows and is very musical; that it is up-close and far away at the same time. That's how I can best describe it anyway. And the imaging is inline with the soundstage, meaning it is also very good. I wouldn't say it has the best imaging as the sound signature and soundstage present the sound as a cohesive blend of sound, but I can spot points of reference from which I'm hearing where the instrument is.

 

Conclusion: Okay, so is the EX1000 top-tier? Yes, yes, and YES!!! To say that it's amazing is an understatement. If you want to know what I think of them, me buying a 2 year warranty for them when I never buy warranties should speak volumes. These IEMs are unequivocally one of the best IEM's I have ever owned. I will go as far as to say they are the best for my taste, but there is now a competitor. The UM3X is a good complement to the EX1000, but the CK100 gives them a run for there money...

 

~~~~This review will have some changes made to it throughout the multi-reviewing process/when I have more time~~~~


Edited by mastershake2393 - 10/24/11 at 5:11pm
post #2 of 39
Thread Starter 

Audio Technica ATH-CK100 (The Beauty)

 

(Space for pictures)

 

Packaging: The packaging is very expensive looking, very elegant. The actually box isn't big, it's actually fairly small. However, for something this expensive I would think they would include more in the way of accessories. I don't like that they included a pleather case instead of an actual leather case like the EX1000, although the CK100's case is much more portable. There are only 4 pairs of tips included: S, M, and L silicon tips and a pair of foam tips. Admittedly I haven't tried the foam tips as I automatically switched to hybrids because those are my favorite tips on any IEM.

 

Build Quality/Isolation: Exceptional build quality on these. If they weren't so expensive, I don't think I would worry about tossing them around. I mean, the housing is freaking titanium! The cable retains 0 memory and is supple, making it equal to the IE8 as the best cables I've had on an IEM. They're also extremely comfortable. I'm confident I could wear them for an entire day without and still find them comfortable. There is one thing that I don't like about IEMs that have a deep insertion and that is the irritation. I haven't had many issues with the CK100 + hybrid combo, but there might be some irritation with the stock tips.

 

Isolation: The housing is sealed allowing the CK100 to have great isolation. All BA IEMs, that are sealed, have the same isolation qualities for the most part, so nothing new here.

 

Sound

 

     -Bass: Popping the CK100 into my ears for the first time, I kind of had an idea prior to my first listen as to how little bass the CK100 have. Well, I can say I must be in the minority because I found the bass quantity far exceeded what I thought they were going to sound like. It actually has slam! This surprised me so much, I thought something was wrong with them haha. Great texturing, speed and depth; the quality is excellent. If I had to nitpick, I could say the bass doesn't have the timbre I'm use to from DD IEM, but that is a tiny nitpick. I can't really think of anything else that could be wrong with the bass.

 

     -Midrange: Enhanced. Some people may hate it, others may love it. It's certainly a bit different than what I'm use to. I've never heard an IEM that bring the mids as forward as the CK100. They actually have an aggressive midrange! I like it a lot. The CK100's really give that extra oomph to the vocals, making it a very pleasing listen. If you love mids, I can't think of any IEM (that I have listed in my sig) that present the midrange spectrum as well as the CK100's do. Just magnificent.

 

     -Highs/Treble: Hmm, very pleasing indeed. There's no apparent drop-off as far as I can tell. The treble remain hot without being sibilant, and are surprisingly smooth at the same time. Very good, very good. I can't see anyone wanting with these. Actually, there seems to be something strange happening with the treble. Yes, that's it: the enhanced midrange is actually coloring the lower treble in the 2-4khz range. Very odd indeed. I can't say that I hate it, it's just strange. I don't think someone with a preference towards a balanced sound-signature would like this very much.

 

     -Soundstage/Imaging: Ahh yes, this is where BA IEMs both fail and succeed. Luckily for the CK100's, they succeed in both soundstage and imaging. Not the most expansive soundstage I've heard on an IEM, but certainly the best I've heard on a BA IEM. Lets not forget about the imaging. I can't say I've heard an IEM that image as well as the CK100. Well, maybe I have, but that's for a later review ;). 

 

Conclusion: So who is the CK100 geared towards? I can say that I don't think anyone can actually hate the CK100. The only thing I can see people disliking it for is it's interesting midrange presentation. Other than that, I don't think most people can go wrong with the CK100. It doesn't have the best timbre, but it does everything else marvelously.


Edited by mastershake2393 - 10/22/11 at 10:05am
post #3 of 39
Thread Starter 

Held for review.

post #4 of 39
Thread Starter 

Held for review.

post #5 of 39

THIS I'm looking forward to! Subscribed. biggrin.gif

post #6 of 39

Looking forward to it, escpecially CK100 and EX1000, have been looking at those two for long time now!

post #7 of 39

Having used two of the three, my interests are peaked for your findings and comparisons.  I always love reading different points of view on products that when taken in group allow more unbiased perceptions of these products.

post #8 of 39

Also subscribed! Looking forward to your comparisons popcorn.gif

post #9 of 39

Sounds interesting, subscribed :)

post #10 of 39
Thread Starter 

The EX1000 review is done. I hope everyone likes it! biggrin.gif

post #11 of 39

I hated your review!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just kidding. :-P I agree with you regarding the isolation. Won't be reaching for them before mowing the lawn or getting on a plane, but for day-to-day stuff they isolate "good enough." I really don't hear anything going on around me once the music kicks in.

post #12 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by mastershake2393 View Post

The EX1000 review is done. I hope everyone likes it! biggrin.gif


 

A lot of what you've just written about the EX1000s in your review seems to mirror how I perceive the Sonys. I haven't posted much lately (and don't intend to post much in the future), but your review suddenly prompted me to write this post. That and the fact that this evening I happened to write to a friend. I'll quote word for word what I wrote to him:

 

"You're right about the UM2s, having the ES3Xs already, it's pretty pointless getting the 2s. I have to say that in the 2.5+ years I've had the ES3Xs (and UM3X & W4s) I've really come to appreciate a very good 'warmish' type of phone that still presents all details in the music, has excellent instrument separation and is absolutely non-fatiguing. If I only had the EX1000s, I think I'd have eventually ended up getting either the W4, UM3X or UM2s to balance the Sonys out. Still absolutely love the 1000s as you well know, but in the last couple of months I've come to appreciate my customs' sound sig a hell of a lot (again). I still reach for the Sonys more often, but that sometimes is because of the convenience (read more comfort), so I'm a very happy camper indeed with both my customs and 1000s."


Edited by music_4321 - 10/21/11 at 5:30pm
post #13 of 39

Looking forward to your review on the ck100. Can you give details on how it sounded with your J-pop collection :) 

post #14 of 39
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Love Music View Post

Looking forward to your review on the ck100. Can you give details on how it sounded with your J-pop collection :) 


I'm going to be working on it soon. Just wait and see regarding the music I have been listening too, I have a certain surprise for that ;)

 

 

post #15 of 39
Thread Starter 

CK100 review done! Enjoy :)

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