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Radius DDM Lover seeks advice (TWF21? FTX90? GR07? MTPC?)

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Okay, I loved my DDMs.  They're not for everybody, but I'm the kind of guy that loves B&W speakers: I want musicality and a deep integration of the bass, not perfect resolution of each detail.  If nothing else, I'm 40 years old, and there's little doubt that my high-register hearing ain't what it was.  (Though if I can have it all, then yes, please!)

 

Now, I never understood several common complaints regarding the original DDM (the TWF-11r Pro). The shape of the housings was a reasonable decision in the face of the IEMs' requirements.  A 15mm driver is enormous in this usage (any bets as to whether anyone will ever go bigger?), and the DDMs' design minimized the profile of that stonking thing in a very reasonable, if ear-filling way.  My ears are only slightly, if at all, larger than average, and I never felt anything other than comfortable with them.  I thought the original red/black color scheme nice, in an understated (yes, really) way, and the gold bar was a bit of bling that was at worst harmless, and in my case has actually started a couple of conversations in airports with girls who dug the Radii. : )  Furthermore, I suspect that the DDM's shape, inside porting, and resonant plastic housing had an enormous effect on its engaging sound. 

 

Sadly, criticism of the DDMs' build quality turned out to be well-founded in my case.  The plug-end strain reliever somehow pulled out from under the red "Radius" plug cap, and the connection to one 'phone is broken (it can be briefly revived if you finesse the cord and re-make the connection).  I'm going to try to have these fixed -- any advice on who to go to in a small town? PC repair dude? Electrician?? -- but my girlfriend (who should totally ignore the above comment about meeting girls in airports) wants to get me new IEMs for Christmas!

 

So, I'm clearly tempted by the TWF21s.  Unlike most reviewers, I like their look a good deal less than the TWF11s.  They strike me as a bit Frankensteiny, the way they stand up out of the ear in photos.  But meeting girls isn't really the point, so I can live with that.  If the TWF21s are a better-behaved, but still energetic and in most ways more capable version of the TWF11s, I think I'd have to love them.  On the other hand, the construction is obviously no better than the DDMs' so I could well have the same problem to look forward to.

 

The TWF21s are around $240, which is a lot for anyone's girlfriend to spend, but she was planning to get me the Monster Turbine Pro Coppers anyway, and those are only $20 cheaper fromAmazon.  I had told her about that the MTPCs were the ones I'd kinda wanted when I decided the DDMs were to good a deal to pass up at nearly $100 less than the Coppers.  Though some of the shine has come off their reputation with the introduction of excellent cheaper competitors like the RE262/272, the VSonic GR07 (another option I'm strongly considering), and others,  I think I'll find them a gifted all-rounder with some of the things I liked about the DDMs.  And yet -- there's the aforementioned GR07, and IEMs like the JVC FXT90 and the Sony EX600 that are available at relative-bargain prices, but seem to have supplanted the DDMs and even favorites like the MTMD, the IE8, and the HA-FX700 in the ears of people whose opinions I generally respect, but who nonetheless might be looking for something I'm not.

 

I live in a beach town, and there's nowhere within many hours' drive from my home to try 'phones, besides the places in airports, which carry Monsters (though they never have the Coppers available!), Shures, UEs, and so forth.   Among the "airport wireless" brands, I tried nothing I preferred to my DDMs.  

 

So what should I pick? One of these, or something I haven't considered? 

post #2 of 20

so many options and nowhere to try before you buy...... those "airport" girls just love you for your headphones. :) how about the future sonics atrios mg7s? bass monster, great isolation. seems similar signature wise.

post #3 of 20

As a DDM1 owner (and I really like them as a universal IEM) I can tell you the only logical choice is UM Merlin. You'll never look back.

post #4 of 20
The FXT90 are more clearer and has great bass response(highly recommended).
post #5 of 20

x1 for the FXT90. Can't commend on the GR07 as I have not heard it but auditioned this alongside the TWF21 and end up with the FXT90.

Both are fun and musically enjoyable but the FXT90 has more sparkle and livelier with a better built quality. Do check it out.

 

post #6 of 20

Radius DDM or DDM2 are indeed very amazing sounding "beast" and in my opinion, only FX700 surpasses its sonic capabilities.

Despite all the claims and tons of favorable reviews on headfi,  Radius aren't so acclaimed on this forum, perhaps due to fact that they are so hard to get  or what ever the reason is behind;

Have the warranty already expired on your DDMs?  I assume you did not get this through Musicaacoustics, the Japanese distributor in charge of DDMs.

Perhaps you can get your DDms fixed with MA? I got my pair repaired for small fee year after warranty was over..

Vsonic is not in any way similar to Radius, so it isnt bass heavy, it is more balanced sounding

FXt90 is also Dual drive just like Radius but same here, FX90 is not a rival to Radius DDm2 and not even to DDm1, talking about sonic preferences here..

 

In short, recommend getting a pair from reliable source with good warranty

 

post #7 of 20

I would advise against FXT-90 - while they are nice, they cannot match the DDM1 for bass depth or impact and they sound too artificially bright in treble in comparison to DDM1. I bought them months ago thinking they would exceed the Radius but even after 300+ hours of burn in they just don't rate for me in comparison. the FOTM thread has generated a lot of hype for them though so I expect to be shouted down on that. 

post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 

 

Leo888 and Zarim -- thanks for the tip.  I'm somewhat leaning toward the JVCs at this point. My heart is telling me to go for the TWF21s, but given that the build quality issues I've had, that would probably be a little silly.  And since I can have the TWF11s repaired and retain that DDM signature, something different would be the smarter choice, I'm sure.  Users like ericp10 now have the FXT90 at or near the top of their lists, and I know that eric, for one, loved exactly what I loved about the DDMs.  If either of you care to characterize the FXT90 further, I'd be interested to read your impressions.

 

Phntmsmshr -- I'm sure I'll eventually move up to some customs (and I'll remember your advice re: the Merlins) but as good a boyfriend as I am, I can't send her THAT link! ; )

 

ri-toast, the Atrios MG7 does sound interesting, and is obviously a capable IEM, but I think I'll miss the broader soundstage of the DDMs, and...well, I hate to admit this, but those things are, like the VSonics, just so blah-looking!  [hides face in shame]

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by yello131 View Post

Have the warranty already expired on your DDMs?  I assume you did not get this through Musicaacoustics, the Japanese distributor in charge of DDMs.

Perhaps you can get your DDms fixed with MA? I got my pair repaired for small fee year after warranty was over..

 


Yello131, I got mine from AccessoryJack, and I do have an email in to him asking about repair.  Sadly, the warranty IS expired, but I'm willing to pay for a fix.  I have no doubt that you're right that the FXT90s are not a direct rival to the Radii, but can you tell me why you say so?  Is it just a matter of preference for a sonic signature?  You're well-known on the board, and I've read many of your posts regarding the DDM, so I'm quite curious.

 

On a side note, I just ordered a set of Brookstone Clear Drive IEMs for my girlfriend.  She loved my DDMs, so I think these will be a nice first step out of iBud land for her, and will pair nicely with the Kindle Fire I got her.  Plus, I'll get to try them!  I am awfully curious about them, and it couldn't be clearer that they were made by whoever makes the TWFs for Radius.  They're probably a step down from either Radius, but I'm hoping they'll be a great solution for the girlfriend.

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phntmsmshr View Post

I would advise against FXT-90 - while they are nice, they cannot match the DDM1 for bass depth or impact and they sound too artificially bright in treble in comparison to DDM1. I bought them months ago thinking they would exceed the Radius but even after 300+ hours of burn in they just don't rate for me in comparison. the FOTM thread has generated a lot of hype for them though so I expect to be shouted down on that. 



phntmsmshr, you prefer the TWF11 to the TWF21, correct?  Given that I'm getting a new set as a gift, and will be repairing the TWF11s, do you still think they're a bad idea?  Do you think I'd be better  of with a sert of GR07s, for example? I have always been a one-'phone kind of guy, never carrying different sets for different moods, but perhaps that will change.  

post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elladan View Post



phntmsmshr, you prefer the TWF11 to the TWF21, correct?  Given that I'm getting a new set as a gift, and will be repairing the TWF11s, do you still think they're a bad idea?  Do you think I'd be better  of with a sert of GR07s, for example? I have always been a one-'phone kind of guy, never carrying different sets for different moods, but perhaps that will change.  

Ultimately it is up to you, but as someone who loves the TWF11 sound I found the FXT-90 a departure from that gorgeous muscial note of the Radius and not as satisfying, a kind of overt brightness that to my ears doesn't sound natural. As for TWF21, the difference isn't so much in the bass but in the treble. I have had no fit issues with the TWF11 but the TWF21 seems more awkward. I guess it is trial and error but I'd still go with the TWF21 over GR07 or FXT-90 because you know that the SQ is not going to disappoint you. 
 

 

post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phntmsmshr View Post

Ultimately it is up to you, but as someone who loves the TWF11 sound I found the FXT-90 a departure from that gorgeous muscial note of the Radius and not as satisfying, a kind of overt brightness that to my ears doesn't sound natural. As for TWF21, the difference isn't so much in the bass but in the treble. I have had no fit issues with the TWF11 but the TWF21 seems more awkward. I guess it is trial and error but I'd still go with the TWF21 over GR07 or FXT-90 because you know that the SQ is not going to disappoint you. 
 

 


I appreciate the input, phntmsmshr.  My biggest issue with the 21s (other than the price, when my gf is buying) is that the construction is obviously exactly the same at the point of failure as on my 11s.  Since I don't know how the 11s failed (certainly, nothing overt happened; perhaps stress induced by the cable winder?), I have to expect that the 21s will do the same, and at considerably more expense.  But you're right: sooner or later, I'll have to try a pair of TWF21s.

 

For now, though, it's looking pretty likely that I'll end up with the FXT90s -- though the girlfriend likes the Coppers and their warranty.  They represent a relative bargain that I won't have to feel guilty about foisting on the gf (unless I don't like them!).  If nothing else, it will broaden my experience in the hobby, and I can always sell them once the DDMs are fixed!  

 

post #12 of 20

The Brookstone DD have the ddm2 shells but sound closer to the original DDM, at least based on ClieOS reviews. I had the Brookstones and the fit was easy and comfortable wearing down, so ddm2 should be similarly easy. However another head-fier friend received 2 or 3 defective ddm2's in a row. 

 

I find the fxt90's very musical, with fx700 level instrument timbre; and they are my favorite universal. They are much brighter than the Brookstones but I think it's a realistic sparkle.  I also do not use the stock tips.  It's definitely a departure from the Radius sound and worth looking into, if you want/prefer a brighter presentation. 

post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks, shotgunshane.  I am not typically a fan of bright speakers or IEMs (have never even considered R0s or Etymotics!), but brightness in conjunction with other strengths might be a plus.  And if nothing else, hearing those tiny details on my favorite tracks would always be a welcomely different listening experience. I've given my girlfriend a shortlist comprised of the FXT90s, the MTPCs, and the GR07s, all of which I want to hear -- but the list is subject to amendment. (Thankfully, she gets me!)

post #14 of 20

I'm a huge fan of the TWF11's (While I feel like an old man talking about his glory days, I was the one who came up with calling them DDM's instead of their code name haha). Oddly enough my pair has just failed on me as well at the plug, and I'm in a kinda similar situation.

 

I've had a chance to listen to, and own, some of your options. I also like B&W speakers too - they look gorgeous, and I wouldn't complain about the sound.

 

Besides the depth of the bass, what I appreciate most about the DDM is its polite, delicate sound - it doesn't have a huge amount of bass bleed and despite its deep frequency response is never obnoxious about it. I'm starting to think the politeness I like is actually a product of the DDM's very large dynamic range, which comes by virtue of its very large driver. Every IEM I have listened to with a similarly large driver (ie: GR07, EX1000) exhibits this kind of 'delicate' sound even if the signature may be different.

 

The JVC's to my ears were in comparison to my ears a fair bit warmer, and without that delicacy.

 

The GR07's are amazing all rounders and my current favourites.They are neutral, but unlike a lot of other neutral options they have bass authority to back them up. That said, they aren't as lush and deep as the DDM's in the low end. If you are after a really pleasant and different experience though I couldn't recommend them more. 

 

The Atrio's I agree do look a little odd. They are tremendous value for money though and in terms of bass response are the only earphone I've heard with similar levels of refined bass to the DDM's. However, they are definitely a little more forward in the highs. 

 

Here's another option I might recommend to you, since you want something that looks gorgeous and has a cohesive sound. The Sony EX800ST has a similar kid of neutral monitor sound (even more neutral then the GR07) but delicacy and detail across the whole range. Like the DDM's they have a simalrly exotic shape. I believe they are also more balanced then the EX600 but I haven't compared myself.

 

I haven't had the chance to listen to the TW21F though I am thinking about it as a replacement option. I have listened to the standard Turbines, not the Coppers, but although they are good their build quality honestly scares me a little.

 

Hope some of my impressions help. For what its worth I do recommend the GR07's. In spite of loving the DDM's the 07s are the best of many many worlds.

post #15 of 20

a_,  interesting, the ddm tag was you, good one! even with the exotic shape the bar at least makes a very nice handle for removal and insertion.

 

elladan, wow i've never used a winder just for that reason; too much stress. there are some nice clamshell cases, hard shell, that i'm pretty certain you could step on without risk. myself, i pack headphones in small tupperware containers. i can see inside and added benefit, they are dust and waterproof.

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