I decided to post my pre and post filter impressions directly to this thread.
ASG-1 without and with filters
I thought it best to take my pre-filter impressions an overlay my post-filter impressions for compare and contrast.
So for any of you worried about too much bass, I don't find these as bass heavy as say the FX700 and the Atrios definitely have deeper extending bass and much more quantity. However the ASG-1 bass is definitely plentiful but articulate with punch and doesn't interfere with the mids. From memory, I'd put the quantity a notch over the SM3 and extension a little deeper than the SM3. I don’t find that my opinion has changed any here with the addition of the filters. As has been said many times, the ASG-1 does EQ very well. I enjoy adding a few decibels in the sub bass range.
Mids are what this phone are all about. Vocals are very, very upfront. At this point I wouldn't call them liquid or lush, they are definitely on the dry side. The only criticism I really have at this early point, is that the upper mid is a bit 'shouty' at times. The filters greatly reduce this effect, while keeping the vocals very upfront. I would say the mids still stay on the dry and cool side but the levels at which I perceived them pre-filter are lessened quite a bit post-filter. For the most part the ‘shouty’ effect is gone, only showing itself on a few tracks that already have very forward vocals or very forward guitars. I find the post-filter mids to be a significant improvement and enjoy them much more than before.
Treble is laid back but very detailed with just a hint of sparkle. Very nicely done. Overall they present a pretty clear sound. Unfortunately it seems the treble presence takes a bit of a hit post-filter. I found the ASG-1 to have a little treble sparkle pre-filter but now I find them to have none. I definitely feel the need to EQ them a bit to not only add sparkle but to give it back the good cymbal/hi-hat/ride realism it had before.
As for soundstaging, I don't get any forward projection. To steal the quote attributed to Bennyboy, it's like sticking your head in a music bubble. Instead you are on the stage and the music is happening around you. This is the 'live' feel everyone has been mentioning. It certainly is strange going back to a normal forward projecting sound after listening to these for a while. Post-filter changes the soundstage. I no longer find it be like sticking your head in a music bubble. Post-filter provides a U shaped soundstage, if you invert the U. I no longer hear positioning cues thrown behind me but rather to the extreme sides. However it still maintains the ‘live’ feel the pre-filter version is known for.
So far I have not found any benefit in amping them. I completely hated the ZO with them and the O2 only sounded marginally better than headphone out, so why bother. They work perfect with my iPod shuffle. For whatever reason, post-filter I do feel they benefit from amping, at least from the O2. The added transparency of the O2 really helps the ASG-1 to shine.
Build quality is what I like best about them. They are super light weight, yet seem like they would be indestructible. No worries of dropping them on the floor. I also think they'd be perfect for exercise or outdoor activity with no worries about sweat. The supplied cable is very nice and the sockets are pretty recessed and very tough to remove. As far as tip rolling, the stock mediums are working best for me in comfort, sound and keeping the fit flush to the ear. No changes here.
All in all I find the filters to be a significant improvement over the unfiltered version, even with the hit the treble takes. Without the filters I would become fatigued from the ‘shouty’ mid and surround presentation. Now I find I can listen to them for long periods of time without fatigue. The filtered version of the ASG-1 definitely gives me reason to own these again.