Very nice impressions, LCMusicLover.. thanks for taking time out and letting us know. Looking forward to (hopefully) seeing my AS-2 soon and putting them through the paces.
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Fender IEM (Aurisonics) Impressions, Reviews & Discussions Thread - Page 187post #2791 of 58873/5/13 at 3:30am
Gear mentioned in this thread:post #2792 of 58873/5/13 at 3:40ampost #2793 of 58873/5/13 at 3:40ampost #2794 of 58873/5/13 at 4:27ampost #2795 of 58873/5/13 at 8:12am
They are approaching 60 hours at this point. Unfortunately, because of the amp change, it's going to be hard for me to express any coherent thoughts on burn-in.post #2796 of 58873/5/13 at 8:21am
I felt I noticed changes up to 200 hours of use with the old driver.post #2797 of 58873/5/13 at 3:38pmQuote:Originally Posted by LCMusicLover
Well, I finally had some quick shipping luck. I bought the RSA Shadow on eBay on Friday. The seller shipped on Saturday, and it arrived today.
So I'm listening to my AS-2s through it right now. Since it was used, there's no burn-in wait -- it sounds phenomenal.
Before I give my impressions of the AS-2s, let me give a bit of my experience, musical tastes and sound preferences. If you don't care about that, jump ahead to 'AS-2 Impressions'.
I've been listening to IEMs almost exclusively for the last 15 months. Before that, mostly speakers, although I had IEMs that I used with MP3 players for quite a while before that -- mostly for when I was biking or skiing. I've gone from Sony ER-71s to iBuds, to SoundMagic E30s to Ety 4PTs to VSonic GR-07mkII to my current 1964Ears V.3s and the (Ta Da!) AS-2s. I grew up with some really high quality (for the 60s & 70s) hifi equip -- Macintosh tube equip, big Altec Lansing speakers, Ampex tape deck. And I've always leaned toward reasonably priced quality equipment (Advent speakers, AR turntable, NAD electronics).
I listen to a lot of different music, folk, rock, bluegrass, jazz, some country, world music, classical, as well as a certain amount of electronica and ambient. Some of my favorite artists are Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Cockburn, kd lang, Cowboy Junkies, Richard Bono, Gurrumul, the Dead, Michel Petruciani, Miles Davis, Dave Grisman, Leo Kotke, Ray LaMontagne, Vienna Teng, Lucinda Williams, Jethro Tull, Santana, the Who, Genesis, Jean Michel Jarre. In all, there are something like 500 artists in my iTunes library, which is about 2Tb, all either 320kbs or lossless.
I've always sought 'accuracy' and 'detail', looking for a 'neutral' sound signature. Of course neutral to one person ... And if you look, you'll find that the first thread I started here was all about finding my way out of my 'Ety' box. I really liked the detail and spaciousness of the Etys, but I missed the bottom end they seemed to be lacking. At the time, I pointed to two versions of 'Born Under a Bad Sign' (Cream & Hendrix) that just didn't work for me on the Etys. After trying a number of other universal IEMs I ended up getting my first custom IEMs, the 1964Ears V.3s, which I like very much. I picked them partly because they're made in Portland (just 80 miles from where I live) and I could demo a pair, partly because of good reviews here, and partly because of price. I would summarize my impressions of them as bright, 'fun' sound signature with improved bottom end compared to the Etys. Fairly detailed with a good wide (but not terribly deep) soundstage. I got a very good fit with them and I've been happy with them. Good bang for the buck.
Besides my newly acquired Shadow, I have a soon-to-be returned Matrix m-Stage with an upgraded OPA-627 op amp, and a HiFiMan EF-2A for amplification. My DACs are an Ultra-Fi DAC-41 and a Centrance DacPort LX (which I haven't listened to since I got the Ultra-Fi).
These are a significant upgrade to the V.3s in every way. Breaking the sound spectrum down into highs, mids and bass:
A much less 'bright' sound signature, it took me a bit of listening to realize that the high end was much more detailed and revealing. The example I use is that when the drummer hits the cymbal, you hear the tone, not just the 'ssss'. Another place I really notice the difference is Lucinda Williams' voice. On the V.3s it sounds thin, almost strident because of the emphasized top end. It would be easy to say that this is the biggest improvement except that...
The mids are just so smooth/creamy/detailed. kd lang's voice sounds completely different, kind of like an 'eargasm'. Indeed, every female vocalist I enjoy sounds better on these headphones. Vienna Teng's voice can be just heart-breaking live, and I've heard that same feeling (if that makes sense) on the AS-2s. Equally, Bowie's vocal on 'China Girl' takes on a new richness and immediacy, and I noticed some interesting inflections when he sings '...Marlon Brando...' and the next few lines that I'd never heard/noticed before. Enjoying vocal performances as much as I do, it would be easy to say that this is the biggest improvement, except that ...
The bottom end is way better. Powerful, yet controlled, with a lot of speed and impact, and extending much deeper. As an aside here, let me mention that Dale includes instructions in the package that suggest that you DON'T mess with the bass port until you get to know the headphones, and then make very small changes, as they dial them in quite well before shipping. I can attest to that -- I messed with the ports, and it took me some time to get them 'right' again. In any case, it's funny, there's no way an IEM can deliver the physical sensation of a big speaker/sub-woofer making the floor vibrate beneath your feet. But these IEMs deliver sound that makes your body think it ought to be feeling it. When you're listening to 'Born Under a Bad Sign' by Hendrix, the bass guitar sounds so very real -- it's not just tone, you can really hear the string vibrate on every note, even the lowest. On 'Zombie' by the Cranberries, the impact of the bass drum doesn't get lost in all the other instruments like it did with the V.3s, especially when the distorted (or whatever that is) guitar is playing. And, if you like the Dead, let me just say 'Morning Dew' :) In all, the bass is really satisfying, I suppose you could crank the ports open enough to make it bloated (in fact, my right one was there for a bit until I undid my 'adjustment') but properly adjusted, it's just great, and it's clearly the biggest improvement, except that...
What's really amazing about these are that not only is each part of the spectrum handled so well, but also, that the parts fit together wonderfullly. Speaking of 'Morning Dew', it has a heavy base-line, backed by some driving deep percussion, a relatively backgroundish organ line that kind of fills, some very delicate Jerry guitar with a lot of high notes and harmonics, and Jerry's thin, plaintive vocals. And you get all of that, presented in a beautifully balanced way that allows each part its own place. (I'm specifically thinking of 3-26-90, Knickerbocker Arena). Surely the balance across the spectrum is the biggest improvement, except that ... (getting tired of this yet :)
The ability to present a lot of complex detail without it getting muddled (or muddied) really is the biggest improvement. You can hear the whole orchestra, and you can tell the strings from the woodwinds, etc. An interesting example is the song 'Be Here Now' by Ray LaMontagne. There's quite a bit of the song where his voice and the guitar are in the same part of the frequency spectrum. On the V.3s it's hard to pick the two apart, but not with these babies. I keep hearing things I haven't heard before. Things like a background singer or another precussion instrument I hadn't noticed. Besides presenting more detail, the AS-2s also do a really good job of separating/localizing instruments in the sound stage.
As you can tell by now, I really like them :)
Of course it's not perfect. One limitation is the spaciousness of the sound stage. While I do feel that on well mixed music the location of the instruments is well-defined, there's not a lot of depth to the image. That is, I don't get a sense of some instruments being close, and others further away, instead of just louder and quieter. I thought that was one of the real strengths of the Etys and I miss it. I guess you can't have everything. I would also say that the V.3s have as good a sound stage in terms of width and 'localization', with perhaps a bit more depth. I think if my main genre were classical I would consider this a significant limitation. On the other hand, the sound stage seems tailor-made for jazz.
Amusingly, I just popped the V.3s back in after listening to the AS-2s for several hours, and they now seem very bright and bass-light.
BTW, all these impressions are based on a Windows laptop with iTunes playing out USB to my Ultra-Fi/Shadow. And right now I don't have a good interconnect between my DAC and amp. I'm ordering one from BTG-Audio. Also, I've replaced the stock cables with BTG-Audio Starlight cables.
As a bit of a disclaimer, I should mention that I just got the Ultra-Fi a couple of weeks ago, and it is a really amazing product. I'm used to upgrades making small improvements that I frequently have to convince myself are not just placebo effects. The Ultra Fi blew me away from the first track I listened to. So my relative unfamiliarity with the sound of that device may be coloring my impressions of the AS-2s. Over the next few days I'll do some more extensive A-B testing with my V.3s, and also between the Ultra-Fi and the Dacport with both IEMs, as well spending more time with my Vamp.
Excellent review. Some of the things you stated definitely stick with my recollection of hearing the AS-2 demo. I can't wait to hear my actual pair and do a comparison with some of Aurisonics' first products and some other IEMs that I own now. Thanks again. Happy listening.
Edited by ericp10 - 3/5/13 at 4:22pmpost #2798 of 58873/7/13 at 12:34pm
Glad you've my impressions useful. Here's a quick addendum:
The Who's 'Magic Bus' sounds really great on this rig. There's lots of percussion and clangy guitar, plus Daltrey singing at the top of his range, up in the treble end of the spectrum, and it comes out very detailed and well localized. AND...not a hint of sibilance, which is not true on my V.3s.post #2799 of 58873/8/13 at 12:00am
We have begun shipping the AS-2 as some are beginning to report. Please contact us by email or phone if you have any questions or concerns.
ASG-2 new valves arrived yesterday finally! After NAMM I made some changes to them to help ensure people could adjust them easier (more clearly), adjust the taper of the valve to ensure a more audio type taper in the machining of the valve surface as well as the amount of control of the driver dynamics. The valve is unlike anything ever made to my knowledge in the way that it works internally. They are made on a 12 axis Swiss screw machine and are as precise internally as a Swiss watch. Since this is a generic and will need to be adjusted often depending on users needs and person to person we went with a more user friendly design on the ASG-2.
We look forward to everyone's thoughts and impressions on the AS-2 and ASG-2.post #2800 of 58873/8/13 at 12:13ampost #2801 of 58873/8/13 at 12:25ampost #2802 of 58873/8/13 at 12:29ampost #2803 of 58873/8/13 at 1:08amQuote:
As soon as we have current orders caught up we will release our upgrade program. Coming soon...post #2804 of 58873/8/13 at 8:27ampost #2805 of 58873/8/13 at 8:50amAlright maybe someone here can help me. I'm looking for a dedicated player as my iPhone is nearly full (not to mention the battery drain) and because I'd like to upgrade my bit-rates for the AS-2's. I'm not interested in the clip and think I'd like to try something other than apple.
I have a Sony A865 but I don't like the size or interface - sound is great. I've been looking at the Samsung galaxy media players because I can add a 32gb card ( possibly even 64gb) or possibly the Sony z 1050. This is basically my birthday present to myself as a reward for my upcoming half marathon. I know the Samsung 4.0 and 4.2 use the Wolfson audio chip and with the right apps, the sound quality should be good. Thoughts/suggestions? I'm really, really excited that the AS-2's have started shipping!!Return HomeBack to Forum: Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors
- Fender IEM (Aurisonics) Impressions, Reviews & Discussions Thread
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