The mids on the Shure are much fuller and forward but lacks the bass punches, etc. W4 is very balanced across the whole spectrum.
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I wouldn't say lively but the quality of the mids IMO is far superior to the W4. When I sold my W4, I can't say I miss its mids. I missed their balanced signature.
Here is my first impression of the w3.
I got the w3s today, and surprisingly, I can't hear any sibilance at all, even with stock silicone tips. (I'm normally ultra sensitive to sibilance, and I'm selling my ex1000 because my recordings sound too sibilant on it). The treble is very nice down and quickly became my favourite.
The bass is emphasized, but not as much as some of the bassier iems like the fx700. I would prefer less bass on certain genres such as vocal and instruments, but overall it's nicely done. Does not extend as deep as the ex1000 but has more weight and more of a punch.
The mids are very recessed in comparison to the ck100 and um3x, which are among my favourite iems to date however it doesn't bother me as much. I usually prefer forward mids but the nice presentation, huge sound stage and superb instrument separation totally makes up for the recessed mids. It sound like the mids are indeed far away, but it''s presented in an enveloping and airy way. In comparison, the um3x sounds dull and claustrophobic.
In terms of sound quality, they are about on par with um3x having better instrument separation and bass quantity, however, in terms of style they are quite different. The um3x has forward mids, less treble and slightly emphasized bass, while the w4 is more balanced. I personally found the w4 very 'correct' sounding yet less engaging to listen to. The um3x on the other hand is more intimate and exciting when it came to vocal. It can be a bit too intimate though if you're not used to the forward mids
I've had my W3's now for almost a year, and while I've always liked them, I never could get over the sibilance on certain tracks. Today, I tried the tri-to-bi-flange mod on the white tips, and the sibilance is not completely gone, but more tamed. It was completely gone with no mod on the tri-flange, but it made the housings stick way too far out of my ear canal. The mod is a good compromise. The W3's are now back to being the near-perfect combo of hard bass with super-detail that my soul craves. My itch to upgrade has been tamed (for now). I love my W3's and highly recommend experimenting with all the tips!