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Westone 4R Vs. SM3 V2 Vs Sennheiser ie80

Poll Results: Which would you choose?

  • 38% (27)
    Westone 4R
  • 25% (18)
    Sennheiser IE80
  • 30% (21)
    Earsonics SM3 V2
  • 5% (4)
70 Total Votes  
post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Firstly let me apologize if a thread like this already exists. 

I am currently using the Earsonics sm3 v2, and am sending them back to either replace, or change them to either westone 4r or sennheiser ie80


Can anyone with knowledge of all 3 explain to me the differences and mainly, why each monitor is different? which one is better?

I listen to a Cowon j3/z2, to 320 and FLAC quality music that ranges from Dubstep to melodic metal to some forms of high production value rap.


I am a big fan of clarity, yet i specifically enjoy a high quality and powerful deep bass (i own Ultrasone 800 for full sized cans)


The earsonics, for the past 8 months or so have provided me with an amazing spectrum of valuable and loving sound quality, yet i am craving to potentially try out something that could be better.


So far i am hearing that the westone 4R would be best for my type of listening, yet id like, if possible someone to help me out with this decision.


for the SM3's i use triple flanges as recommended by averagejoe on this website.


I am a HUGE fan of perfectly balanced soundstage


On the charts , the SM3's were number 2 for a long time but they were bumped down to number 8


I am seeing that Westone 4 is ranked in the 30s. Are the charts accurate? 


From the audiophile who reviewed like 250 different IEMs, i am seeing that the westones have a higher value and quality than the SM3's 


Also, how long have the Westone 4's been around? Are they new?


Is the quad driver with 3 way crossover better than the triple drivers the SM3's have? 


I am sorry, i am not an audiophile of any sorts but highest quality music is my number one priority as i am always seeking something better.


If i could, i would buy unique melody, as they are considered to be top tier.


Also, whichever IEM i decide to get, do i need to use my Fiio e11 amplifier? or is the 110+ sensitivity enough power to have a proper output? i've learned that the Ultrasone 800's definitely need an amplifier because of their 94 (?) dB output being too  low for the Cowon to properly output the sound.


If my questions are confusing or dont make any sense please help me with that if you can, i am trying my best to understand the aspect of sound quality, and this whole criteria in general.. 


My email is leasha87@hotmail.com if someone is interested enough, and would be willing to help me out with this in detail. I will HIGHLY appreciate it!

post #2 of 9

Hmmm...The SM3v3 utilises a triple amature driver setup, the W4 has a quad-driver design, and the IE80 uses dynamic drivers.


Now, if absolute clarity is a must, it's probably best to forget about the IE80s, since the clarity on them is not up to par with other pairs of the same league. I'm owning the IE80 now (not the other two), and in all honesty, the main point of having them is for me to enjoy my music without having to worry about clarity or details or anything of the sorts. Just sheer musical enjoyment. That's not to say the IE80's clarity is bad though, they just weren't designed with clarity as a priority in the first place. High quality and powerful deep bass can be considered the IE80's forte (besides the soundstage).


As I have not tried the other two, I'm holding my judgement on them. But bear in mind that these pairs do perform around the same league sound quality - wise, and it pretty much boils down to personal preferences (and budget) in my opinion. It's a matter of beef or chicken when it comes to top tier universals.


And if I have to make a suggestion, would you mind checking out the Phonak PFE 232? I have heard words that they are one of the best universal IEMs you could get with money, and the sound filters can come in handy should you feel the need to experience something different. I would not recommend something like a custom pair if you are a person always looking for something new due to low resale value. IMHO, customs should always be the last dish of the meal. You'll get a tremendous increase in sound quality, but you will not know what you've been missing in the process.


You also do not need and amp to drive these 3. They will perform sufficiently without any amplifying, but being amped or having a powerful source can take the performance up a notch.


Hope that helps.



Edit: While joker's multi IEM reviews can be seen as good reference, I would always recommend you to try and see for yourself if you could. Value is, and will always be in the eye of the beholder, and only your ears can determine what's worth spending money on.

Edited by 3nenbgumi - 6/17/12 at 8:59pm
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Firstly, let me apologize for not seeing this post for so long, and let me thank you for replying!!! i am so sorry! i just realized ive noticed it. If you end up seeing it, thank you so much for helping me out! i ended up getting the Westone 4's, but with months of trying them out, even with an amp, they just seem too weak for 4 driver earphones. I am hearing the sm3's are simply superior, except for maybe the soundstage. However, i dont want to go to the sm3's until i try something else. Can i ask you if you have tried the 232s? and what are your impressions on them? theyre only dual driver, does that take its toll? How clear are they? what about soundstage? mids? If you see this, i appreciate your help!

post #4 of 9

I LOVE how it's all even.

post #5 of 9

For the above 3 IEMs , I don't think J3 can drive them well.


SM3V2 was a very good IEM , it has a powerfull bass, deep and quick respone . And a nature and warm vocal .


I like sm3 rather than W4 and IE80.

post #6 of 9

Personally I would say get something to compliment them. I got some HF5's with my SM3's and love them. You could also experiment with the Knowles filters in the NRB ety mod thread. They work on the SM3's too ^_^

post #7 of 9

and that mod worked really good on the sm3, a better monitor in my opinion is the ex1000 (althought as everything they are not perfect), but not the um3x or the 535se didn't heard any other iem

Edited by Kurdt-bada - 10/3/12 at 3:11pm
post #8 of 9


I had the ex1000s and W4s and tested them side by side. The ex1000s have a better treble and a little more detail than the W4s. But the ex1000s also have some bugs in their sound that the W4s do not have. That is unnatural boost high-mids and slightly lacking of low-mids and mid-bass area. The W4s are simply impeccable. The bass on the ex1000s is nice but still not as wonderful as W4s bass(so surprising for a BA driver bass). In general, they are really good and worth the label "top of the line" IEMs beerchug.gif

Coming back to SM3s v2 and W4s competition. From my friends who own the SM3 v2 vs and v1. They stated to me persistently that the V2 is more clear, more treble-ly and less "dark" than the original V1, though from what i know the V2s differ the V1s just at adding a removable-cable. So maybe the  Sm3s v2 will be gotten a higher point/mark than both the SM3s V1 and the W4s in Multi iems review articleksc75smile.gif

Edited by tamleo - 10/5/12 at 9:33pm
post #9 of 9

Yes, I'll be going with Westone W4 combined with my Fiio E11 too.

it is best for listening on the go (commute) with my Iphone 4S.

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