A900x vs ES700s vs RE700s vs WS99s
First test song: NORAH JONES - Sunrise
A900x - We begin with the bass intro, the strings that you hear being pulled is done well here, the quality is there, the quantity is just the right amount as it doesn't bleed into the instruments, but quantity is good enough to satisfy a balancephile(not basshead). It is a bit recessed in comparison to the instruments, but only behind by two decibels. Once Norah sings, I am immediately struck by how sharp and clear the vocals were. It sounded pretty good, and I hear no veil with her voices either to be honest, as other headfiers stated. Now, when the male background singers come in, I do hear a bit of a veil, but I believe it applies to males in the songs I listen to.
The vocals sound rough though, sometimes I wish it was a bit smoother as it does make her voice sound rougher than it should be (unless it was intentional, but these headphones do it a bit to the extreme). Instruments sound thin, as did the bass unfortunately...
The guitars sounded pretty crunchy on these headphones, though I have to say that the thinness of the sound took the fun out of it.
Piano sounded good in tone, but lacks the thickness and bass strength to provide me a more satisfying DUN! experience.
I could still hear instruments even if they're playing lightly, as well as the other headphones.
But it was a great sound to hear from these beauts.
Imaging is fantastic, the instrument placement, vocals, background singers, etc, were placed where I hoped they'd be. Norah center, singers behind her, instruments on the right and left (guitars and piano).
ES700- The bass intro here is different, it's a bit tighter, more bodied (surprise there), and a bit more in quantity, but still recessed by 2 decibels again. Strings, again, can be heard being pulled, but a bit better, and with more vigor. The instruments take a bit more priority here, especially when the vocals come in, that's when the bass sounds a bit behind. The vocals take front center with these headphones by the same amount of decibels as instruments. The difference? Everything sounds thicker, more natural, and easier for the ears as norah doesn't sound as rough as the a900x. Yet, the a900x and these headphones share one thing in common. They both sound grainy with vocals, and that takes away my blissful adventure to the music world because of that. While guitars don’t sound as crunchy as the a900x (and the other headphones after these two), these do them justice as it does give it a good amount of thickness and just -1 db of clarity is taken away. Piano sounded a bit more realistic, in the sense that I could hear the weight of the piano keys, unlike the a900x’s. The clarity of the piano is pretty good on the es700s (not like the a900x, but those made it sound thin and weak, but not hollow).
Despite that, the vocals were better and more enticing than the a900x. How? Well, not only was it thicker, males weren't veiled, the vocals sounded similarly clear to the a900x's, sounding less grainy and harsh, but most important of all, the voices are smoother and more captivating. There is some magic on the mids here...it's a sweet smooth, and closer to the audiophile. It sounds “airier”, more emotional, and euphonic...
The reason I put quotations on airier is due to the boxed in effect I hear on these es700s. No, it’s not actually boxed in, it’s airy to satisfy every user. When you hear the a900x’s though, they do sound more open and less constricted, it’s as if norah was outside, not inside a studio singing.
Imaging is great, I could almost tell that the instruments and vocals, as well as the bass, was placed correctly.
WS99- Just like I said on the last sentence of the re700's, these also have a different SQ. The bass is more conservative, but a bit richer than the rest. It does sound pretty tight, but I think even then, the re700s best it, at least by half a step. The quality and texture is equal on both, and the impact is a bit better on the ws99s, but the re700's are pretty close, no joke here.
The mids on these are pretty surprising. I didn't expect a bassophone to have good vocals, these sound splendid in the way the bass presents the rest of the spectrum. It has big and bold sound, thicker sounding than all of my headphones, the instruments sound thick enough to my enjoyment, still good clarity, and the vocals sound just as smooth as the re700s, no grain heard like the es700s and a900x's.
The vocals still can't beat the rest of the headphone lineup. These are a step below the es700s, two steps below in a900x, and three steps behind the re700s in terms of airiness, open space. It does sound similar to the es700s, but the es700s have that magic that make it sound airier than the ws99s...
Imaging is decent.
RE700- BAM! The bass is even tighter, a bit thicker, and most important of all, more in quantity! THIS HEAPDHONE NAILS BASS LIKE NO OTHER! The bass is almost inline with the instruments and vocals, I'd say it's at least -.5 db behind, or 0, as I don't hear the disparity between the whole frequency. This has better texture than the other headphones, as the es700s did pretty good with keeping up with the different tones of the bass, as did the a900xs, but this headphone plays it mad as not only the impact of the bass is evident compared to the other two, the strings are easier to feel, tones are richer and more lifelike, realistic. I can't stress this enough, this sounds like a reference monitor when it comes to bass...
The mids however, ...oh wait, they're ok. ...great..
PSYCHE! They are amazing, god like, heavenly, FAD should make friends with audio technica and zero audio and make the best IEM that can sound this good. The vocals here are similar to the es700s in terms of quantity. It actually is the same to be honest, I thought it was behind the es700s, but hearing them again, makes me believe that they are just as forward as the es700s, but so are the highs and lows. This is THE balanced headphone, the ws99s that should have been.. After constant A/Bing, they are similar in mid quantity, maybe the re700’s are at least -.5 to -1 decibel lower in the mids than the es700s. Not that much of a difference.
The vocals sound airier than the es700s, making the es700s sound a bit boxed in, and sound similar to the a900x's airy levels. The difference is that it loses that extra sharpness that I hear from the a900x, which can sound like grain, has a more euphonic sound over the a900x's, sound more emotional and just half a step airier and more realistic, and the vocals sound lifelike, real, right there in front of you that you thought she was singing only for you. :) These also are thicker sounding than the a900x's, which is surprising to say the least...not to mention the tonal balance. These do songs justice as I can individually pick the different pitches and tones of instruments and singers, no joke on that. The background singers are also placed more accurately with norah than the other two headphones I mentioned. Imaging is phenomenal on these headphones, just brilliant. The es700s is two steps behind these headphones, and the a900x is one step behind it. I need more time to compare the soundstage and imaging though, but the differences in SQ are obvious.
Will do another comparo tomorrow morning. I'll use two more songs and that's as far as I go. It'll be more articulate and shorter.
Overall Clarity + Detail
Bass impact, quality, and quantity ranking
Based on comparisons on two headphones, the bass impact, quality, punch, goes to..
The treble will be next tomorrow. But knowing the multiple A/Bing from three days ago.
Treble detail + Thick
Analytical goes to
Smooth sounding overall, while having the details to back it up and open space
Great mids, a bit more enclosed, and is mid-centric
Great thick bass, Big bold sound
While I say that the re700s beat them all in the whole frequency range. There is one thing people have to be aware of
The vocals for the most part, sound great.
No silibance in SSSS, CHHHH, FFFF, etc
BUT, there will be some recordings that will exhibit this silibance, but mostly in small amounts and usually in random places. Sometimes when I hear the singers stress their SSSS, I don't hear any silibance, but then some areas I do...
Either my headphone is whack, or something else is happening.
EDIT: AIRINESS AND SPACE GOES TO
Edited by vlenbo - 1/31/14 at 12:29am