Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Meelec A161P Thread: *Review* Part 1: General Ergonomics & Sound Summary 7/28/12 [Review list by others on Page 1]
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Meelec A161P Thread: *Review* Part 1: General Ergonomics & Sound Summary 7/28/12 [Review list by... - Page 4

post #46 of 55

Sorry to drag this up just to ask for a comparison, but I'm having a tough time deciding between this and the original Phonak PFE 1xx. Obviously they're different sonic signatures, and with its filters the PFE can take on different tonal balances, but I like the descriptions I've read of both and think, based on what I've seen so far, I might like either one.

 

So here's just a few things I'd like to know from anybody who has had both the A161 and one of the 1xx PFE models. Inks, I know you mentioned the PFE in your initial posts as a direct competitor of the A161, so perhaps you have some thoughts.

 

 

 

-Both are reputed to be comfortable, but has anybody slept while wearing the A161? I can't stay asleep in headphones, but music helps me drift off. It's one of the reasons I'm considering a pair of IEMs.

 

-How boosted, in relative terms, is the bass on the A161? I'm trying to place the level on a spectrum of things I'm familiar with, so here's a few benchmarks. I find a DT880 to be a bit light in the bass (I add a 3dB shelf below 130Hz to help it out a bit) and an SRH440 to be about the right level, though not very extended. I found the M50 to have too much bass, particularly in the midbass. While we're at it, how does the bass on the A161 compare in both quantity and quality to that of the PFE using the grey filter? I expect the A161 has more bass quantity, but how big a difference is it?

 

-Almost every comment and review I've read suggests that the soundstage on the A161 is rather small. How big of a deficit is it compared to the PFE?

 

-A few people, including ljokerl, have suggested that the treble of the A161 is a tiny bit grainy, whereas the PFE is often described as remarkably smooth throughout its range. Is this your impression, and if so, how noticeable is the difference? While we're at it, how much more prominent is the treble of a PFE with the grey filter than that of the A161? I'm sensitive to sibilance, but at the same time I like well-extended treble. In the case of the A161 I'm willing to sacrifice a little bit of air and extension compared to strictly neutral, but if the treble is noticeably south of neutral, then I'd rather pass.

 

 

 

That's quite a lot to read through. Answer everything or anything you like.

post #47 of 55
Which filter are you wanting to compare the A161 with?

Also regarding sleep, the PFE will be better in that regard.
post #48 of 55

I'm assuming I'll like the grey filter, considering my general preference for neutral and analytical. I know the A161 is a departure from that. I'm just trying to determine if it goes too far.

post #49 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post

Sorry to drag this up just to ask for a comparison, but I'm having a tough time deciding between this and the original Phonak PFE 1xx. Obviously they're different sonic signatures, and with its filters the PFE can take on different tonal balances, but I like the descriptions I've read of both and think, based on what I've seen so far, I might like either one.

 

So here's just a few things I'd like to know from anybody who has had both the A161 and one of the 1xx PFE models. Inks, I know you mentioned the PFE in your initial posts as a direct competitor of the A161, so perhaps you have some thoughts.

 

 

 

-Both are reputed to be comfortable, but has anybody slept while wearing the A161? I can't stay asleep in headphones, but music helps me drift off. It's one of the reasons I'm considering a pair of IEMs.

 

-How boosted, in relative terms, is the bass on the A161? I'm trying to place the level on a spectrum of things I'm familiar with, so here's a few benchmarks. I find a DT880 to be a bit light in the bass (I add a 3dB shelf below 130Hz to help it out a bit) and an SRH440 to be about the right level, though not very extended. I found the M50 to have too much bass, particularly in the midbass. While we're at it, how does the bass on the A161 compare in both quantity and quality to that of the PFE using the grey filter? I expect the A161 has more bass quantity, but how big a difference is it?

 

-Almost every comment and review I've read suggests that the soundstage on the A161 is rather small. How big of a deficit is it compared to the PFE?

 

-A few people, including ljokerl, have suggested that the treble of the A161 is a tiny bit grainy, whereas the PFE is often described as remarkably smooth throughout its range. Is this your impression, and if so, how noticeable is the difference? While we're at it, how much more prominent is the treble of a PFE with the grey filter than that of the A161? I'm sensitive to sibilance, but at the same time I like well-extended treble. In the case of the A161 I'm willing to sacrifice a little bit of air and extension compared to strictly neutral, but if the treble is noticeably south of neutral, then I'd rather pass.

 

 

 

That's quite a lot to read through. Answer everything or anything you like.

 

The bass on the A161 is a little flatter and has better presence.  In other words, it's boosted a bit over the PFE022 (+ grey filters).  The boost is maybe by a couple dB.  The A161 has better depth and impact overall.  The PFE has a slightly tighter punch. 

 

The A161 seems a little south of neutral.  It's not like it's entirely gone though.  The PFE can be sibilant at times. 

 

Both have relatively small sound stages.  Nothing will artificially be done to widen sound stage. 

post #50 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post

Sorry to drag this up just to ask for a comparison, but I'm having a tough time deciding between this and the original Phonak PFE 1xx. Obviously they're different sonic signatures, and with its filters the PFE can take on different tonal balances, but I like the descriptions I've read of both and think, based on what I've seen so far, I might like either one.

 

So here's just a few things I'd like to know from anybody who has had both the A161 and one of the 1xx PFE models. Inks, I know you mentioned the PFE in your initial posts as a direct competitor of the A161, so perhaps you have some thoughts.

 

-Both are reputed to be comfortable, but has anybody slept while wearing the A161? I can't stay asleep in headphones, but music helps me drift off. It's one of the reasons I'm considering a pair of IEMs.

 

-How boosted, in relative terms, is the bass on the A161? I'm trying to place the level on a spectrum of things I'm familiar with, so here's a few benchmarks. I find a DT880 to be a bit light in the bass (I add a 3dB shelf below 130Hz to help it out a bit) and an SRH440 to be about the right level, though not very extended. I found the M50 to have too much bass, particularly in the midbass. While we're at it, how does the bass on the A161 compare in both quantity and quality to that of the PFE using the grey filter? I expect the A161 has more bass quantity, but how big a difference is it?

 

-Almost every comment and review I've read suggests that the soundstage on the A161 is rather small. How big of a deficit is it compared to the PFE?

 

-A few people, including ljokerl, have suggested that the treble of the A161 is a tiny bit grainy, whereas the PFE is often described as remarkably smooth throughout its range. Is this your impression, and if so, how noticeable is the difference? While we're at it, how much more prominent is the treble of a PFE with the grey filter than that of the A161? I'm sensitive to sibilance, but at the same time I like well-extended treble. In the case of the A161 I'm willing to sacrifice a little bit of air and extension compared to strictly neutral, but if the treble is noticeably south of neutral, then I'd rather pass.

 

That's quite a lot to read through. Answer everything or anything you like.

Technically I'll say the PFEs are the better IEM it's got a glaring flaw, it has a problematic peak in the midhighs which made them harsh and sibilant to me. From bass to mids the PFEs are cleaner, the A161s are much warmer somewhat veiled but not too bad. PFEs bass levels are close that of the 880, the A161P perhaps to the M50s. It's sometimes hard to compare bass levels of IEMs to headphones though, because even thought the A161P has as much midbass, it's cleaner, softer in character and tighter. So the bass differences will be like 880 to M50 between the IEMs.

 

I wouldnt' say it has a small soundstage per say, you gotta consider they're IEMs, both have the average soundstage for an IEM, definitely heard many that are worse in this aspect than both. 

 

The PFEs treble is actually more offensive as mentioned earlier, the A161Ps is much smoother though it has a midhigh spike that may make it seem grainy, it isn't nearly as offensive as the PFEs IMO. It isn't too conservative either, probably just a bit less treble than the SRH440. 


Edited by Inks - 11/17/12 at 11:33am
post #51 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post

 

The bass on the A161 is a little flatter and has better presence.  In other words, it's boosted a bit over the PFE022 (+ grey filters).  The boost is maybe by a couple dB.  The A161 has better depth and impact overall.  The PFE has a slightly tighter punch. 

 

The A161 seems a little south of neutral.  It's not like it's entirely gone though.  The PFE can be sibilant at times. 

 

Both have relatively small sound stages.  Nothing will artificially be done to widen sound stage. 

 

Thanks a lot. This helps quite a bit.

 

I'm gathering that they're not extremely different from one another, with the A161 slightly warmer and with more bass presence, and the PFE slightly cooler and with more punch. My main worry is that the A161 would be too far in the warm and sweet direction, or that there would be too much bass. I don't mind a little extra presence down there, but there can definitely be too much. A couple dB doesn't sound like enough to worry about.

 

I'm a little surprised about the soundstage on the PFE, though. I'd always gotten the impression that its presentation was more headphone-like and less in-the-head. Maybe I'm taking that appreciation thread a little too seriously. biggrin.gif

 

Anyway, thanks again. If you don't mind, I'll ask one more thing. I can deal with a little unevenness (especially since these aren't exactly Summit-Fi material), but does either one of them have any notable tonal faults (grain, artificial/plasticy/metallic/etc timbre, lack of coherence)?

 

Also, anybody else who would like to join in, feel free! I spend half the time I'm on Head-Fi reading various threads and reviews and comments, but it's never the same as having people with experience answer your own direct questions.

post #52 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post

Thanks a lot. This helps quite a bit.

 

I'm gathering that they're not extremely different from one another, with the A161 slightly warmer and with more bass presence, and the PFE slightly cooler and with more punch. My main worry is that the A161 would be too far in the warm and sweet direction, or that there would be too much bass. I don't mind a little extra presence down there, but there can definitely be too much. A couple dB doesn't sound like enough to worry about.

 

I'm a little surprised about the soundstage on the PFE, though. I'd always gotten the impression that its presentation was more headphone-like and less in-the-head. Maybe I'm taking that appreciation thread a little too seriously. biggrin.gif

 

Anyway, thanks again. If you don't mind, I'll ask one more thing. I can deal with a little unevenness (especially since these aren't exactly Summit-Fi material), but does either one of them have any notable tonal faults (grain, artificial/plasticy/metallic/etc timbre, lack of coherence)?

 

Also, anybody else who would like to join in, feel free! I spend half the time I'm on Head-Fi reading various threads and reviews and comments, but it's never the same as having people with experience answer your own direct questions.

I'll say they're quite different, Meelecs being quite wamer, more than slightly. The A161P may be too warm, though bass may be perceived as less than the M50s. HMM I'll say the PFE midhigh spike makes them sound a bit metallic, but the A161P sound a bit veiled. Neither sound incoherent, though the PFEs don't like more volume. 

 

If you're going to use them for commuting go for A161P, better isolation, warmer sound works better in this environment as well. PFEs sound better at quiet settings, it's spike doesn't sound as offensive and everything is clearer

post #53 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inks View Post

Technically I'll say the PFEs are the better IEM it's got a glaring flaw, it has a problematic peak in the midhighs which made them harsh and sibilant to me. From bass to mids the PFEs are cleaner, the A161s are much warmer somewhat veiled but not too bad. PFEs bass levels are close that of the 880, the A161P perhaps to the M50s. It's sometimes hard to compare bass levels of IEMs to headphones though, because even thought the A161P has as much midbass, it's cleaner, softer in character and tighter. So the bass differences will be like 880 to M50 between the IEMs.

 

I wouldnt' say it has a small soundstage per say, you gotta consider they're IEMs, both have the average soundstage for an IEM, definitely heard many that are worse in this aspect than both. 

 

The PFEs treble is actually more offensive as mentioned earlier, the A161Ps is much smoother though it has a midhigh spike that may make it seem grainy, it isn't nearly as offensive as the PFEs IMO. It isn't too conservative either, probably just a bit less treble than the SRH440. 

 

Thanks for the reply. It's been a long time since I had an IEM, and it wasn't much worth noting. This would be my first proper one. I'm glad to hear that the impressions I've been getting about the A161's treble are probably exaggerated. Too much roll off would have taken them right off the table. When you posted your reply I was still typing out my reply to tinyman, so I asked some things that you ended up answering for me (about the grain, mainly).

 

I'd heard mixed opinions about the PFE's treble. I've seen its measurements and it definitely has a spike there, but apparently some people aren't bothered by it. I've now heard from two people in this thread that it can be bothersome. It sounds like the A161 is actually a safer choice here.

 

Paradoxically this makes the choice even more difficult. I definitely found the M50 to be too bass heavy, but it might have been because I thought the M50's bass could use a bit more control. I also thought the mids were a bit laid back toward the upper end, so maybe the A161's more forward midrange would help balance that out.

 

I know it's difficult to compare IEMs and headphones. Soon I'll know that firsthand. I'm glad you took the time to work through a comparison for me.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inks View Post

I'll say they're quite different, Meelecs being quite wamer, more than slightly. The A161P may be too warm, though bass may be perceived as less than the M50s. HMM I'll say the PFE midhigh spike makes them sound a bit metallic, but the A161P sound a bit veiled. Neither sound incoherent, though the PFEs don't like more volume. 

 

If you're going to use them for commuting go for A161P, better isolation, warmer sound works better in this environment as well. PFEs sound better at quiet settings, it's spike doesn't sound as offensive and everything is clearer

 

 

I'm probably going to use them more often for commuting than anything else, so that's definitely a good point. It's one of the reasons I was considering something warmer sounding. That and I wanted to hear an example of this signature done reasonably competently. From what I've read, the bass on the A161 is tight and has decent speed and good extension. As long as it's of good quality, I might not mind more of it than neutral.

 

I know the A161 will likely win in bass extension, but how far apart are they here? This was one area where the M50 actually quite impressed me and something I missed when I returned it and ended up with the DT880 and, later, the SRH440, neither of which is too impressive here.


Edited by Argyris - 11/17/12 at 12:12pm
post #54 of 55

Just re-read this thread again, I seem to miss the Hidden Biflange Tips tip. Makes me want to try it out. Thanks Inks.

post #55 of 55

how do these compare to the tdk ba200?

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Meelec A161P Thread: *Review* Part 1: General Ergonomics & Sound Summary 7/28/12 [Review list by others on Page 1]