First of all sorry about my english, it’s not my native language, but i felt that i must share this with you.
I found a lost gem amongst cheap iems: the Maxell HP-CN40 (aka. Drumsoundz)
About me: I’m an audio enthusiast, and active member of a hungarian tech forum. I wrote several reviews in this subject: here.
Iem’s owned/auditioned at length:
Fischer Audio DBA-02, Vsonic GR07, Sunrise Xcape V1, Beyerdynamic DTX100, ECCI PR401, Brainwavz Beta, Maxell Metallics, Maxell HP-CN40, Sennheiser CX300
Xears XE200Pro, Xears N3i, Xears Resonance, Xears PS II Pro, Xears XSR330, Xears Ultraphile, Xears XN2, Xears XMPRO, Teclast R8, CKDUN CK-W1000…
And countless headphones which i don’t want to list here… :D
Let’s get it started:
The packaging is cheap and you must destroy it to get the earphones. The stock tips are junk, unusuable. Preferred tips: generic bi-flanges. The shape of the nozzle is quite strange. It’s oval shaped, but it works well with the ordinary 5mm bore sized silicones. The housing is from good quality plastic and metal, build quality is very good. The strain relief is well designed.
The shells are really big, so it’s a pity for those with smaller ears. The diameter of the driver is 13mm. The nozzle angle is ergonomically designed, i had no comfort issues.
Strong hiss from my iAudio 7. The Cowon also cuts the deepest lows due to the low impedance of the phones. I clearly hear ’rattling’ and ’clicking’ from my Teclast T51 with turned off display. No hiss, or any problem from my FiiO E10.
It’s open like the new Beta, and it’s isolates similary.
The upper part of the cable is 50cm and you get an extension cable which is 70cm long. The cable is rubberized, and doesn’t tangle. I think it’s one of the best i’ve seen on an iem. The jack is identical with the BW M3. A chin slider can be found ont he upper part of the cable so you don’t have to use shirt clip.
First i have to notice, that i get chills when somebody speak about burn in, and how important this thing. Even with the most "burn-in needed" GR07 i haven’t heard any change after 100 hours, and let us admit: nobody remember what happened a week before, and the humans audio memory is pretty bad…
So the sound was so harsh and unpleasant in the mids out of the box that only a medium bore sized triple flange / foam tips helped to tune it down. Quality wise the sound was really good, but i had to use eq to tune down the harshness at 3,5kHz.
I don’t want to write a long essay so now i skip some boring parts…
I put the phones in the closet with fast metal tracks for a night with slightly louder volume than my usual listening level. (I repeat: i don’t believe in burn in.) Next day i was astonished, because the harshness gone, and presentation wise the earphones changed a lot.
The sound quality is simply mind blowing for 20$.
See this frequency graph. Thats what i hear from this earphone. The bass is close to neutral, and the impact is very good. The Xears N3i sounds like a boomy, muddy mess near the CN40. Bass quantity is halfway between the GR07 and the XE200Pro. In terms of speed, decay, and texture it beats out the XE200Pro with KO. The bass is articulate and there is absolutely no bass bleed to the midrange. The low notes are weightier and has slightly bigger body than the GR07. The Vsonic is a bit better in detail and i feel the bass drier with it on my test tracks.
The mids are full and on the warm side. It’s not recessed but coming from the GR07 the singers and the vocalists are placed a bit farther back. I think it’s because the upper midrange is slightly more presented than the fundamental frequencies of speech. The detail is on par with the best dynamic iems i’ve ever heard, but somewhat lacks in texture. It’s very clear and transparent, and smooth. It’s easy to see in the music. The guitars have also good detail and bite.
The highs are clean and carry some smoothness from the midrange. In comparsion the GR07 has more agressive lower treble, and it can be quite sibilant with some female singers.
Quantity wise i think the highs are close to neutral. Cymbal crashes have decent energy and always remain in the background opposite to the DBA-02, which brings them int he first row.
The soundstage is huge, it’s an open earphone. It has good width and depth. In separation it’s clearly beats the XE200Pro, but lags behind the GR07. Imaging is very good but not so pinpoint as in the GR07 or the DBA.
This iem has shockingly good sound quality, and it’s 20$.
I would put it halfway between the XE200Pro (which is my favourite earphone around 50$) and the GR07 in overall sound.
The isolation is not really good, and it’s hard to find the right tips and the correct fit… but it’s really really worth the effort.
The quality/price ratio is simply unbeatable.
Can somebody send a CN40 to ljokerl?
Edited by slfln - 2/15/12 at 11:32am