I'm not 100% sure- I'd email Mitch over at DreamEarz- he's very helpful and responsive.
It seems like they should be since DreamEarz also uses Knowles TWFKs, for my es5+'s he subbed in the same bass drivers that are now being used in the 7x's, and he tuned the 7x's to have the same sound sig as my es5+'s. The only reason it might be different is if his 7x's use a different TWFK variation than what Westone uses for their es5's.
Again, my guess is yes they should be the same, but Mitch would know for sure.
I'm really interested in how these would compare to the Heir 8.A? It seems like most people find that the ES5 and 8.A are already fairly similar, and if I could get that 8.A sound at only $765 for the Dream Earz 7X, that would be fantastic.
I bet pretty damn similar. The big disclaimer for my opinion is that I haven't heard heard the 8.a's and my es5+'s might sound a bit different than the in-production dream earz 7x.
To me, the es5+s sound exactly like the es5's but with deeper bass. So if I had to make an educated guess, I would say that the difference between the 7x and the 8.a's would mostly have to do with mids presentation, note thickness, and treble extension. I've read that the 8.a is just about the thickest multi-BA IEM around, and that its treble is slightly rolled off. I would say that the es5+ is on the slightly thicker side of neutral, and its treble is recessed but not rolled off. My es5+ has a really prominent mid range, while from what I gather, the bass is the star of the 8.a. show. I bet the bass is comparable in terms of capability, but the overall signature is slightly leaner on the es5+ with more emphasis on the mid-range. Just a guess tho.
I really appreciate your comments Chris. With my discovery of this 7X, I've safely crossed the ES5 off my list as a candidate for my first CIEM. However, I still have the Heir 8.A and maybe the Aurisonics AS-2 on my radar. I really wish somebody could do a comparison with the 8.A vs. 7X, but that is pretty darn unlikely considering how unknown/unpopular Dream Earz is.
Is the $300 jump from 7X to 8.A worth it? I'm tired of upgrading, I just want to jump to the top and be happy!
Also, a question for you Chris: are you content with the ES5+? Or do you long to upgrade or try something else?
Objectively, no- I expect both to be as technically proficient as one another, so at this point its purely subjective. When you get to something being a matter of subjectivity (e.g., certain rational people thinking the 7x sounds better than the 8.a., while certain other rational people think the 8.a. sounds better than the 7x), I just can't recommend paying $300 more for one instead of the other.
How will you be listening? Will a 7x + a $300 amp sound better than an unamped 8a.? Probably...
Its also worth considering that there's also the subconscious effect of price- we inherently think more expensive = better, even when that's not always the case. Because a lot of musical enjoyment is psychological, maybe you'd get more enjoyment just knowing that you paid more?
Just how much more do you think you'll enjoy the 8.a signature than the 7x signature?
I know I didn't answer your question, and actually just gave you more questions to think about, but it all comes down to what you think is best for your ears!
Side note: I'm reluctantly selling my es5+s soon if you want them- I don't get to use them enough and think someone else should enjoy them- let me know if interested.