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new to Head-Fi.. trying to decide between Gr07, Gr01, DBA-02, ATH CKM500, FXT90, EPH-100 and...

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

  First, Hello everyone, my first post here, I have been reading/researching these forums for weeks now and my head is seriously going to explode from the amount of info. I've been taking in. I had no idea there were so many high quality IEM's to choose from and even less idea what I was getting myself into. Either way I'm happy to be here, and happy to find such a helpful community.

 

  I am a musician, I'm quite picky about guitar and drums. I like a good clear, crisp and natural sound. I like bass to be tight, powerful, precise, deep and punching but def. not overbearing or bloated (think fast double bass kicking).. mids I am undecided on, I think I have a very slight v shaped frequency preference (the metal head in me) so I'm thinking not to bright or overly forward on the mids but clear, and open. The top end of the frequency I am concerned about because I love screaming guitar solo's, cymbal crashes, violin, and it's got to be clear and not piercing or sibilant (as I hear it described) and able to extend to the upper extremes well. I also am willing to spend up to around 200 dollars for a great pair but I'd like to keep it around 150 or under. So being a musician I love all kinds of music, I'm not only into metal, I will be listening to classical, acoustic guitar, blues, reggae, rock, old school rap, I like a bit of it all. So versatility is key. Also it's my first set so I am concerned about everything I've been reading about comfort, fit, isolation, and durability. I guess I'm just looking for the overall best pair that can do a bit of everything well.

 

  After all my research I have narrowed it down to these sets.. the GR07, GR01, DBA-02, ATH CKM500, FXT90, EPH-100 and RE-262.

 

  I welcome your votes, opinions and a brief explain of why you prefer yours over the others or why you think they may be the right phones. I am new so I may have missed a really great set I just haven't heard of yet (OMG that would mean more research lol) but please enlighten me if so. I want to pull the trigger soon as I have a Cowon Z2 on the way (hope that isn 't a mistake). The one with the most votes I am going to pull the trigger on so may the best IEM win. Thank you in advance to everyone that contributes.

post #2 of 38
The DBA02 and GR01 will have the highs you're looking for but won't hit deep enough.

The EPH and CKM probably won't have enough of the highs you want and may
a have just a bit too much bottom end bloat for you.

The GR07 will have the bass you want but if you want a bright shiny top end then they may likely fall short as they did for me. It would be a close call though and you should probably hear them yourself.

The 262 won't have enough bass from everything I've read about it which is a lot.

The FXT90 will be the closest to what you want. The treble is more present than the GR07, EPH and CKM and the bass isn't as bloated as the EPH and CKM. The sub bass is slightly less emphasized than on the GR07 but has plenty more then the DBA02 and GR01.

I know all this because what you've described as your preferred sound signature is exactly what I've wanted for a long time. The FXT90 is closest for me but I should say that I am anxiously waiting for the GR08 and ASG-2, although those will likely be a bit out of your stated price range. Good luck and let us know how your search goes.
post #3 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnarlsagan View Post

The DBA02 and GR01 will have the highs you're looking for but won't hit deep enough.
The EPH and CKM probably won't have enough of the highs you want and may
a have just a bit too much bottom end bloat for you.
The GR07 will have the bass you want but if you want a bright shiny top end then they may likely fall short as they did for me. It would be a close call though and you should probably hear them yourself.
The 262 won't have enough bass from everything I've read about it which is a lot.
The FXT90 will be the closest to what you want. The treble is more present than the GR07, EPH and CKM and the bass isn't as bloated as the EPH and CKM. The sub bass is slightly less emphasized than on the GR07 but has plenty more then the DBA02 and GR01.
I know all this because what you've described as your preferred sound signature is exactly what I've wanted for a long time. The FXT90 is closest for me but I should say that I am anxiously waiting for the GR08 and ASG-2, although those will likely be a bit out of your stated price range. Good luck and let us know how your search goes.

 

terrific insight.. I was leaning heavy on the GR07 or the EPH but now you've got me reconsidering. I will look into the FXT's when I have some time tomorrow. I am curious what others have to say also. Thank you Gnarls.

post #4 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rone View Post

 

terrific insight.. I was leaning heavy on the GR07 or the EPH but now you've got me reconsidering. I will look into the FXT's when I have some time tomorrow. I am curious what others have to say also. Thank you Gnarls.

I'd suggest looking into the FXT90 appreciation thread. Nulliverse in particular also listens metal and has made comparisons between the GR07 and FXT90, and in the Yamaha thread has compared the EPH to the FXT90. Has some very insightful comments that eventually motivated my own purchase.

post #5 of 38

I've owned every earphone on your list except the DBA and GR01. 

 

The best there is the RE262, but those require an amp to unleash their magic. Everything I say about the GR07 below also goes here, except for the treble spike.

 

The next best is the GR07 for it's great timbre and speed. To me, the only IEM that beats it for drums, cymbal crashes, and guitar crunch is the $300 ASG-1, but with those you have to be careful which version you get plus EQ up the highs. It has a bit of a spike in the treble though, but it helps with it's great timbre. The highs are plenty sparkly, btw.

 

The EPH-100 is a great phone, but I'd recommend staying away from it if you like the timbre of treble related instruments like cymbal crashes. It has a "special" Yamaha flavored treble that really threw me.

 

The CKM500 is pretty good too, and the best value on the list at less than $80 shipped from Japan.

 

The worst on the list IMO is the FXT90. It's not that it's a bad phone, but the nail in it's coffin for me was that the $20 JVC FX40 has about 90% of it's sound. This has been verified by other head-fi'ers, and another one is about to find out the same thing. It's also bass light IMO (I tried a bucket of different tips). The sub-bass extension and rumble of the GR07 trumps them by a mile. It's also quite aggressive in the treble, so if you like your music loud...beware.

post #6 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

I've owned every earphone on your list except the DBA and GR01. 

The best there is the RE262, but those require an amp to unleash their magic. Everything I say about the GR07 below also goes here, except for the treble spike.

The next best is the GR07 for it's great timbre and speed. To me, the only IEM that beats it for drums, cymbal crashes, and guitar crunch is the $300 ASG-1, but with those you have to be careful which version you get plus EQ up the highs. It has a bit of a spike in the treble though, but it helps with it's great timbre. The highs are plenty sparkly, btw.

The EPH-100 is a great phone, but I'd recommend staying away from it if you like the timbre of treble related instruments like cymbal crashes. It has a "special" Yamaha flavored treble that really threw me.

The CKM500 is pretty good too, and the best value on the list at less than $80 shipped from Japan.

The worst on the list IMO is the FXT90. It's not that it's a bad phone, but the nail in it's coffin for me was that the $20 JVC FX40 has about 90% of it's sound. This has been verified by other head-fi'ers, and another one is about to find out the same thing. It's also bass light IMO (I tried a bucket of different tips). The sub-bass extension and rumble of the GR07 trumps them by a mile. It's also quite aggressive in the treble, so if you like your music loud...beware.

Couple questions:

Why is the 262 the best?

The ASG-1 has nowhere near enough treble if he's considering the DBA02. There is IME
at least a 7 decibel difference in treble response starting at around 4khz and increasing higher up. That's huge and that's how they sound to me.

The GR07 has a spike in lower treble not in upper treble. Violins and cymbals are more accurately rendered on the FXT90 Imo.

The FXT90 is bass light compared to what? Not the DBA02. And not the 262 from what I've read. It actually has a clear bump in bass. I just posted the FR chart on the FXT90 thread and that is exactly how I hear them.
post #7 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnarlsagan View Post


Couple questions:
Why is the 262 the best?
The ASG-1 has nowhere near enough treble if he's considering the DBA02. There is IME
at least a 7 decibel difference in treble response starting at around 4khz and increasing higher up. That's huge and that's how they sound to me.
The GR07 has a spike in lower treble not in upper treble. Violins and cymbals are more accurately rendered on the FXT90 Imo.
The FXT90 is bass light compared to what? Not the DBA02. And not the 262 from what I've read. It actually has a clear bump in bass. I just posted the FR chart on the FXT90 thread and that is exactly how I hear them.

 

The 262 is not bass light IMO. It (from memory) has a more solid bass foundation than the FXT90, and this is from experience, not what I've read.

 

If you look at what I wrote, I didn't specify where the spike was in the GR07. Cymbals are not at all better on the FXT90. They do not have that weight and decay that the GR07 does. I know this because I've played the drums for years.  And violins are definitely not better on the FXT90. I can't comment on the DBA, but if they're really lighter in the bass than the FXT90, there's zero chance I'll ever spend my money on them.

post #8 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

I've owned every earphone on your list except the DBA and GR01. 

 

The best there is the RE262, but those require an amp to unleash their magic. Everything I say about the GR07 below also goes here, except for the treble spike.

 

The next best is the GR07 for it's great timbre and speed. To me, the only IEM that beats it for drums, cymbal crashes, and guitar crunch is the $300 ASG-1, but with those you have to be careful which version you get plus EQ up the highs. It has a bit of a spike in the treble though, but it helps with it's great timbre. The highs are plenty sparkly, btw.

 

The EPH-100 is a great phone, but I'd recommend staying away from it if you like the timbre of treble related instruments like cymbal crashes. It has a "special" Yamaha flavored treble that really threw me.

 

The CKM500 is pretty good too, and the best value on the list at less than $80 shipped from Japan.

 

The worst on the list IMO is the FXT90. It's not that it's a bad phone, but the nail in it's coffin for me was that the $20 JVC FX40 has about 90% of it's sound. This has been verified by other head-fi'ers, and another one is about to find out the same thing. It's also bass light IMO (I tried a bucket of different tips). The sub-bass extension and rumble of the GR07 trumps them by a mile. It's also quite aggressive in the treble, so if you like your music loud...beware.

wow it's amazing the different views on different phones.. first Eke I want to say i've read so many of your posts I feel like I know you lol.. and second I respect your opinions from everything I've read so far, I thank you for helping me out here. I want to clarify when you said "but with those you have to be careful which version you get" did you mean the GR07's or the ASG's? I've heard the GR07's have 2 versions so I'm thinking those are the ones you meant. Can you contribute to what Gnarls says about the top end "falling short". I really like a nice clean and sparkly top end. What is your suggestion for a middle of the road here since no one set seems to do it all best.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaed View Post

I'd suggest looking into the FXT90 appreciation thread. Nulliverse in particular also listens metal and has made comparisons between the GR07 and FXT90, and in the Yamaha thread has compared the EPH to the FXT90. Has some very insightful comments that eventually motivated my own purchase.

I am in that process at the moment, these comparisons I am highly interested in, I've spent over 25  (probably more) hours reading here and it seems there is much to be done still. 

 

From all my research I have gathered one truth.. the perfect IEM is very elusive and quite possibly non existent, so with all things considered I just want some votes for some favorites here.

post #9 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rone View Post

wow it's amazing the different views on different phones.. first Eke I want to say i've read so many of your posts I feel like I know you lol.. and second I respect your opinions from everything I've read so far, I thank you for helping me out here. I want to clarify when you said "but with those you have to be careful which version you get" did you mean the GR07's or the ASG's? I've heard the GR07's have 2 versions so I'm thinking those are the ones you meant. Can you contribute to what Gnarls says about the top end "falling short". I really like a nice clean and sparkly top end. What is your suggestion for a middle of the road here since no one set seems to do it all best.

 

I am in that process at the moment, these comparisons I am highly interested in, I've spent over 25  (probably more) hours reading here and it seems there is much to be done still. 

 

From all my research I have gathered one truth.. the perfect IEM is very elusive and quite possibly non existent, so with all things considered I just want some votes for some favorites here.

 

redface.gif I'm not sure if that's a good thing...

 

I was referring to the ASG-1. It goes from version 1.0 to 1.2. The previous versions (<1.2) had problems with the mids and shell resonance.

 

I honestly find the GR07's treble to me more than adequate. The RE262's treble is more refined, but you need an amp to make it shine. What source/mp3 player are you using?

post #10 of 38

Isn't there a site that sells the ASG for $200?

post #11 of 38
Thread Starter 

I've just ordered a Cowon Z2, it's on the way, but I'm considering picking up a sanza clip from all the good things I've heard, they are cheap and I can use it on the go.. I'm not opposed to using an amp although that's something I haven't even looked into yet.

post #12 of 38

You sir, have the EXACT sound signature that i am also after :)
I too have spent a long, long time researching what would be the best for me so i am in the same boat.
My choices - gr07, dba-02,eph-100, triplefi 10

fortunately whatever headphone you choose, you will be able to manipulate the sound on the cowon to suit your requirements. As i did.
With my GR07 i loved the neutrality but i found that i was missing the treble "sparkle" that i got from my Shure840s.
So i changed the EQ on my cowon c2, to "detailed" and got the treble result i was happy with. Turned on bass boost on my Fiio e11 amp and got the
perfect sound signature for me - Wide soundstage, detailed, crisp, accurate and impactful bass.

The Yamahas are nice, BUT to me they didnt sound accurate as far as treble goes, some artists just sounded different, and accuracy is important to me.
The DBA-02 would be perfect, but almost impossible to find. You can get the brainwavz equivelant, but they look horrible, like you could buy them from wallmart for 5bucks.
the Re262 is a very clean sounding IEM, detail is incredible but you WILL need an amp which may hinder whatever budget you have in mind.

Maybe consider the Triplefi 10s? slighlty v-shaped i believe with a treble emphasis and a clean and accurate bass.

post #13 of 38

Well I have TF10, DBA02 (Brainwavz B2) and Sennheiser IE60. And my source is also Cowon Z2.

I'd say if you can get the perfect fit, you should go with the TF10, they have everything you want - crisp high, good bass, sweet mids and very good soundstage. Also I don't feel that the TF10 is that V-shaped, just the mids are not forwarded as others.

The DBA02s provide very good details, very clear and crispy with little bass. Way too crispy sometimes, so I would not recommend them for rock/metal fans.

post #14 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by azuredreamz View Post

Well I have TF10, DBA02 (Brainwavz B2) and Sennheiser IE60. And my source is also Cowon Z2.


I'd say if you can get the perfect fit, you should go with the TF10, they have everything you want - crisp high, good bass, sweet mids and very good soundstage. Also I don't feel that the TF10 is that V-shaped, just the mids are not forwarded as others.

I wouldn't recommend the TF10. Compared to the other phones, it sounds like the life has been sucked out of the midrange. Unfortunately, this is where the majority of the instruments and vocals are.
post #15 of 38

I've had the DBA02 and currently own the CKM500.

I suspect you'll find the DBA02 too bass light for your taste, to varying degrees, which would probably mean (going from what others have said on these forums) that the GR01 - which has a very similar sound to the DBA02 - would be bass light as well.

The CKM500 might be worth a punt: 1) they're less than $80 shipped 2) you'll have something to use as a basis for comparison, instead of having to imagine everything in the abstract 3) you can probably sell them on pretty easily if you really hate them.

 

Anyway, I think in the end most of us end up buying our IEMs without the conclusive finality of being able to say, yes, this was definitely the one for me! It's impossible to make these decisions without some leap of faith, as it were. The best we can do is eliminate those we think we know we won't like... and then pick one and hope for the best. redface.gif

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › new to Head-Fi.. trying to decide between Gr07, Gr01, DBA-02, ATH CKM500, FXT90, EPH-100 and maybe RE-262. all opinions appreciated