ok guys so my EX-1000 arrived today and i thought id share my thoughts about these IEM's and compare them directly to the Sennheiser IE8 and shure se535.
first things first.
Design and Fit:
My immediate thoughts upon opening the earphones up was these things look stunning and not too big at all, the leather pouch compliments them nicely and the overall presentation is spot on, taking a closer look the earphones look very well made and feel great to the touch, very solid yet very light, if there is one downside to these design-wise it would be they are seem very cumbersome, the cable really does not help much, its good quality dont get me wrong but the memory section seems a little too thick and a tad tacky.
In regards to the fit of these things, upon first sticking them in my ears i was pleasantly suprised to find the actual earpieces stay within my actual ear and fit fairly flush, in comparison to the IE8 and shure se535 the fit does not feel nearly as secure because they just are not as flush fitting as the latter but they are not nearly as ''massive'' as made out to be. Once fitted in the ear they feel light, very comfortable and the cable does feel soft and secure over the ear. the shures feel like they fit tighter and for this reason the overall secure feeling is better. The IE8 for me fitted very snug once the right tip was found ( double flange ) they isolated a little better with this tip for me and overall for this reason fit would seem better. ( should point out i am still to experiment with the tips of the sony i have got good seal with the first ones tho.)
Ok on to the interesting bit, the sound. The first thing that came into my head was these phones are not nearly as loud as the IE8 and SE535. I am using a cowon D2 as my source which is not ideal but i prefer to my ipod touch. these phones sound very quiet below 25 on the volume and find i have to raise the volume to 36 plus for these to come alive. upon listening to jason mraz and kasabian my first impression is that these sound SILKY SMOOTH! the highs are pretty peaky at times but the clarity is exceptional, These really do open your eyes to how veiled the IE8 sound. The sound is just so open and seperation is excellent, these really do sound like a step up from the IE8 if there was any IEM's that portray high definition sound its these, in regards to the se535 i think they are superb, in direct comparison to the ex1000 i would say the overall clarity and seperation would go to the ex1000 however the shures certainly sound more intimate and warmer. Theres a real snap to the sound of the shures and the sony's just dont seem to portray that power nearly as good. im sure with something that could drive these better tho they would kick harder and certainly benefit.
Bass: Ok the bass to put it bluntly is nearly perfect, I will say right now that in comparison to the IE8 the bass is bang on, one thing the IE8 just didnt get quite right it was the bass, it never sounds just right, and the balance between quantity and quality is off no matter where you put the bass knob, the EX1000 on the other hand just seems to strike the perfect balance between overall quantity and depth, if a song requires deep moving bass the EX1000 deliver no problems whatsoever, but its never overdone, it never threatens to overpower vocals and smother the sparkling highs, i give real high praise to the EX1000 for this its possible the most complicated thing to get right and right here right now, its right. The shures hit hard but at times it does dominate, the sony's never directly points to the bass, when wearing the shures the bass is great but at times it dominates the highs and they never seem to balance up just right, it is smooth and the depth is very good for balanced armatures. reverberation seems better on the shures as if the armatures are moving, its very odd it should be the other was around but it isnt. still, the EX1000 have it here just for being so right.
Mids: Straight off the bat i will say the mids are silky smooth, nothing is ever lost and vocals spring out nicely, everything sounds very flat and just how it should be but one thing i would have liked was something to jump out at me, i feel the sony's dont sound as full in the mids as the shures and lack a little bit of bite, the vocals are neck and neck tho and both strike an excellent balance with the rest of the frequency range, shure pip the sony's here tho in overall lush sound, its smoother and the vocals feel much closer to home, at times this is not what you want but most of the time is certainly a strong point. however comparing both to the IE8 almost seems unfair, they blow it out of the water, dont get me wrong the IE8 mids are actually one of its strong points however it seems to lack that crystalline clarity and ultimate quality of sound. The IE8 sound is forward and the vocals are great however the mid bass does not gel very well and its hard to point out where the mid bass ends and the mids begin, this would come down to speration of the instruments and it just all seems jumbled together, it takes away from that high definition feeling alot, you never feel like there could be distortion but you know for sure that mid bass is spoiling the fun.
Highs: All 3 of these IEM's portray some excellent highs, but for me without being too biased toward my new purchase the EX1000 have it here, they do get sibilant at times and i strangely find that this becomes a bigger problem with lossless music, however i have some 320kbps music and it was not nearly a peaky. These are not sibilant all the time and boy oh boy do they shine when they get it under control. my cowon D2 is not the perfect partner here because its naturally cold and favours highs over lows. make no mistake about it every cymbal crash comes through crystal clear and when the volume is kept to a moderate the highs are foot tappingly smooth, detail is extremely good again giving the impression of true high def sound, everything comes through clear and its very easy to get lost in the silky nature of these IEM's, in comparison to the other 2 i would say the highs is still not the se535's strongest point by a long stretch, although they seem improved over the se530's they still come across as struggling to hit the higher notes when A-B'd with the sony's. The IE8's here are very suprising, portraying super smooth highs that reach very high indeed, its a far cry from the sloppy bass and actually seems the best thing about them. they are portrayed as the ideal bass head phone but for me the highs are excellent and although not on par with the detailing of the shures it does the job very well indeed.
overall for me heres how i would rate them,
SONY EX1000 = 9/10 , Superb bass , silky yet slightly hollow mids and sparkling highs really do portray absolute clarity, poor isolation
SHURE SE535 = 8/10 , excellent bass if a bit detatched , mids to die for , highs that are silky smooth yet extension is still not ideal, excellent isolation
SENNHEISER IE8 = 7.5/10 , hard hitting bass yet slightly veiled and sub bass is drowned, mids are great if a bit let down by the mid bass, excellent highs, never sibilant and a suprising high point for me.
hope this gives a good enough first encounter of the sony's and how they compare to my 2 previous joys.