CK100pro has a slight hiss with the E11. I don't find it "very high", it's only slightly audible when there's no music/during very very quiet segments. There's no audible hiss straight out of an ipod. I no longer find my pair's treble harsh - maybe it's burn-in, maybe it's acclimatization, who knows. It's still treble-centric, but it's fine with about 90% of my tracks. They are indeed very punishing of low-quality tracks though, due to how revealing they are. What I can tell you is the CK100pro are EXTREMELY source and tip-dependent, especially the treble response. A source mismatch (I hear the Cowons match terribly while the Sony Z series fare better) or poor-fitting tips can lead to very unpleasant and shrill sound, but if you find the right combination for your ears the CK100pro are right up there with the best of the best.
^What he said. And I thought I will share the following information below, with fellow members such as Omnirai and nhat_thanh who have commented before that they have experienced some rather harsh brightness/sibilance issues in terms of the treble with their own pair of CK100pro's. I hope the following will be useful to you guys, because currently from my portable source setup which is the Walkman NW-Z1070, I don't have any kind of treble harshness issues with my own pair. Please kindly note the below information has been posted before in one of my local forums, so I'm just cross-posting over so I'm sorry if alot of things doesn't seem to be spoken correctly in terms of first-person perspective.
No harsh highs experienced on my pair here, although in live CD recordings I would still perceive some slight sibilance while hitting high notes, mainly frm some of my older CDs featuring female vocalists. (afaik you can't avoid sibilance with certain CD recordings, it's all originally recorded into there especially live performances)
Although I do understand how the dynamics of a song track tends to scale when played at higher volumes, I have nv needed to listen at high vols with my CK100pros, the 100pros as I had mentioned in my initial review seems to be driven easier than the ex-flagship CK100, despite having higher impedance specs officially. (39ohm vs 23ohm on the CK100)
On my current Sony Walkman Z, I usually only listen it at only 11-steps vol in a quiet environment, and 13-steps vol while on noisy trains/outside environment. Even on my iPod Touch 4th Gen, I don't usually go past half of the volume slider, despite tat iPhone 4/4S generally have slightly more output power than my iTouch 4G from my own personal experience.
I do wish to share what a chinese discussion over at Mobile01 (taiwanese forum) have previously shared abt the CK100pros though, since I do lurk there occassionally.
According to one poster shaolin131 (post #6) who commented on CK100pro's harshness characteristics for its treble quality, he forwarded/translated the following info from a japanese blog review as seen here originally.
(Ranking in terms of treble harshness factor, from most harsh to no sibilance)
iBasso D2+ Hj Boa > Qables iQube > iPod touch > NW-Z1050 > Luxman DA-200
Below are some additional notes from shaolin131 (from post #31 onwards), seems to be from his own listening exp.
- iPhone 4 (connected via headphone out): no noise hiss experienced, but treble sound is thin with harshness/sibilance experienced.
- NW-A728 (connected via headphone out): acceptable to slight irritable noise hiss levels under no playback silence, no harshness/sibilance experienced in treble.
The conclusion? From my own iPod Touch 4G experience prev and what shaolin131 has shared over at the Mobile01 thread, it seemed that most Apple iDevices seems to have a slight peakiness/harshness character in the treble SQ quality when paired with CK100pros. However most Sony DAPs do not have this sibilance problem at all, or at least the report from this japanese blog review seems to reflect/coincide exactly with what I'm currently experiencing out of my current DAP which is a NW-Z1070, just that the one mentioned in the above japanese review is the 16GB variant model instead. (Z1070 = 64GB model, if you haven't been following Bloodaddict's Walkman Z thread closely)
I can't exactly tell ya whether Sony DAPs are warm by nature or not, since I only had their NW-HD5/Z1070 so far in terms for their digital Walkmans, the rest of my own collection are just their older cassette/CDP Walkmans. However I did had some hands-on experience with the older A820 series as well as their X1000 series, and those overall has a warmer tonality and sounds darker in its upper-mids/treble similar as my NW-HD5, while the current NW-Z1000 series is overall a more neutral, transparent and analytical DAP in short
Edited by Haonan - 8/2/12 at 3:15am