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JVC FX500 | yellow filter, black filter, and cotton removal - review!

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I decided to review the FX500 filter removal in realtime.

 

 

The JVC FX500 is a pretty decent IEM.

 

There is an important variable involved in reviewing IEM's which I call... acclimatization.

 

 

It's pretty simple, you're used to a certain kind of weather, you move to a different country, you complain - yet no one else does.

 

In order to truly appreciate the qualities of an IEM, you have to be "in the zone" with it, well, that took a while for me with the FX500, since I was hit with a dose of expectation error, and difficult acclimatization.

 

The reviews (except 1) made me expect a very clear and spacious IEM with unparalleled timbre, that just didn't happen.

 

Compared to the the spacious Sony EX series, everything sounds so narrow and confined, if you're not "in the zone" with it, it doesn't sound like much improvement over a standard Apple earbud, which is exactly what the amazon.jp review said it sounded like, and they received iirc 17 "this was helpful" amazon clicks.

 

 

So anyway, it is an interesting IEM, if you can get past the "funnel" sound, and the resonance, I really don't think the brass eliminates resonance, it sounds like it... contorts it, there is a "brass resonance" of some kind, which makes certain vocals and notes sound 'hard', like an iron type of sound.

 

Hidden behind the resonance however, is a very capable driver, which changes quite a lot from source to source, it is receptive to quality.  If you want to 'listen' to the quality of electrical components like D/A, this IEM will help.  If you just want to use it with a smartphone and that's it, and you enjoy spaciousness and clarity, this isn't it.

 

 

Anyway, someone did a "filter removal mod" and reported good results, which is what I'm going to try now.

 

 

 


**half an hour later**


 

 

 

I can't remove these filters yet, srsly.

 

Are you supposed to send a robot spider down the nozzle or what?


Edited by kiteki - 6/15/12 at 7:16am

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

Hi,

 

I decided to review the FX500 filter removal in realtime.

 

 

The JVC FX500 is a pretty decent IEM.

 

There is an important variable involved in reviewing IEM's which I call... acclimatization.

 

 

It's pretty simple, you're used to a certain kind of weather, you move to a different country, you complain - yet no one else does.

 

In order to truly appreciate the qualities of an IEM, you have to be "in the zone" with it, well, that took a while for me with the FX500, since I was hit with a dose of expectation error, and difficult acclimatization.

 

The reviews (except 1) made me expect a very clear and spacious IEM with unparalleled timbre, that just didn't happen.

 

Compared to the the spacious Sony EX series, everything sounds so narrow and confined, if you're not "in the zone" with it, it doesn't sound like much improvement over a standard Apple earbud, which is exactly what the amazon.jp review said it sounded like, and they received iirc 17 "this was helpful" amazon clicks.

 

 

So anyway, it is an interesting IEM, if you can get past the "funnel" sound, and the resonance, I really don't think the brass eliminates resonance, it sounds like it... contorts it, there is a "brass resonance" of some kind, which makes certain vocals and notes sound 'hard', like an iron type of sound.

 

Hidden behind the resonance however, is a very capable driver, which changes quite a lot from source to source, it is receptive to quality.  If you want to 'listen' to the quality of electrical components like D/A, this IEM will help.  If you just want to use it with a smartphone and that's it, and you enjoy spaciousness and clarity, this isn't it.

 

 

Anyway, someone did a "filter removal mod" and reported good results, which is what I'm going to try now.

 

 

 


**half an hour later**


 

 

 

I can't remove these filters yet, srsly.

 

Are you supposed to send a robot spider down the nozzle or what?


Hi kiteki...the filters glued to the ends of the tips, or the filters behind the caps inside the IEM?, might I ask.

 

For the filters glued to the ends of the tips, what I remember using was an xacto-knife, poking through the center of the filter making a hole, and then tweezers, and seriously yanking on the filter in a circle to detach them from the nozzle. Alternatively, you could use the xacto-knife and cut in a circle and slice the filter away from the nozzle... That way you won't have to find, make, or buy robot spiders! LOL

 

For the filters inside the IEM, behind the caps, you have to really hold the IEM tightly by the stem, and then by the nozzle with opposite hands and pull hard for a long time till the plastic "cap" that the nozzle is a part of "pops" off of the IEM. Then you can manipulate the sponge filter to your liking....

post #3 of 30
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tip.

 


 

Jeez, I just wrote a several paragraph review and then my computer decided to magically navigate away from head-fi so my typing was lost.

 

 

To sum it up...

 

The black filter mod has little effect, takes 1 second.

 

The yellow filter mod is tricky, however once you've done it, there is considerable effect.

 

 

- Less bass

 

- More sibilance

 

- The IEM sounds a little airy, and naked

 

 

Pictures and test tracks I burned into my mind

 

 

 

 

 

kiteki JVC FX500 filter cathedral.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is good sounding and really bad sounding sibilance, it comes in at different frequencies.  A spike at 10kHz sounds really good, it's there to compensate for the weak nature of transducers, like upscaling an image.

 

 

The Sony SA-5000 for example had some pretty good sounding 9~10kHz sibilance, the "s" note resonance kind.

 

 

The Sony EX600 can make violins sound like glass and it's just annoying, especially with electronic music at higher volumes, I just want to kill it, so spikes at 6~8kHz are less nice in my view.

 

 

After this yellow filter removal the FX500 is err, it's airy so I think it opened up a little above 10, perhaps 12kHz.

 

 

The airiness is important to me, and less bass now is nice, I don't like elevated bass, anyway it sounds a little dry, these are just initial impressions, I'll most likely use this IEM a lot now and let's see what I think after a week.  I think a Tibetan silk mod replacing the yellow kitchen sponge is in order. =)

 

/kiteki

post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 

Update.

 

The brass chambers are stuffed with cotton!

 

 

kiteki JVC FX500 brass cotton baroque cathedral IEM.JPG

 

 

 

Removing now.

post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 

Beautiful IEM's

 

DSC03317.JPG

 

 

 

Everything removed, and putting the black filters back on.

 

DSC03318.JPG

 

 

 

I'm using the standard black olive looking tips which come with the IEM.

 

 

Now, time to listen!

post #6 of 30
Thread Starter 

This sounds wonderful!!!  I fixed the dryness by putting the black filters back on and Kim Wilde's vocals are so realistic, on the tip of her tongue!  (not listing to the youtube ver.)

 

 

The bassline is levelled out and the atmosphere is so airy, really liking the first song =)

 

 

Positives

 

- realism

 

- airiness

 

- atmosphere

 

- clarity

 

- enunciation

 

- attack

 

 

Negatives

 

- increased sibilance

 

- increased microphonics

 

- low isolation

 

 


 

 

Next test track, the Rondeau from Abdelazer...

 

 

The harpsichords seem more realistic and violins are more 'connected', I suppose it makes sense with all that cotton and kitchen sponge!

 

 

A little new toy effect here, so I'll keep listening and compare to other IEM's for sure, but the atmosphere and realism sounds really nice!

 

 

/kiteki

post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 

- reserved for IEM comparisons -

post #8 of 30

Subbed! 

 

I am getting one of these on loan, obviously will not be able to mod but will still get a listen and understanding of what the mod does.

How do they stack up against the EX600s?

post #9 of 30
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Swimsonny View Post

Subbed! 

 

I am getting one of these on loan, obviously will not be able to mod but will still get a listen and understanding of what the mod does.

How do they stack up against the EX600s?

 

Good question!  I did a direct comparison once before with the same tips on both, with live acoustic music the EX600 was more exact, the FX500 had unnaturally elevated bass, now that I've levelled out the bass and increased the realism and airiness it will be an interesting competition!

 

In source transparency and fine classical music I think the FX500 was already slightly ahead, in soundspace detachment and neutrality the EX600.  The EX600 also has too much glassy tone in the treble spike, while the FX500 has a little resonance affixed to it's tone.

 

My long-time favorite the EX700 is discontinued now (I picked up a second pair before they vanished) so I'll skip discontinued dynamic driver IEM's.  Final Audio Adagio V and Vsonic GR07 mkII sound like dynamic driver competitors at the ~$200 level too.

 

The EX800ST / MDR-7550 is a little steep at $250+, I like realistically priced IEM's so I can share the audio / music enjoyment with others =).  Not just the 1% that can listen to $1000+ CIEM's.

 

Thanks for subbing have a nice day.

post #10 of 30
Thread Starter 

Really loving solo violin on these!  There's no way I'd put back that cotton and kitchen sponge now!!

post #11 of 30

I've not back-back compared the FX500/700. Really want to... but $$$. I really miss the brittle resolution especially in strings for this earphone.

post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 

Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

 

I've not back-back compared the FX500/700. Really want to...

 

 

They are birds of a different feather ;)

 

 

JVC FX500.png

 

 

JVC FX700.jpg

post #13 of 30

I've been wavering for a couple of weeks over buying the FX700s. I've had the FX500 for 3 years and would love to try the FX700. But they are way too much money. Compare Amazon.Japan's price with Seyo Shop et al. JapanSyndrome has them for around £207 inc p&p, and that's as cheap as they get as far as UK is concerned. I tried to get them to sell them to me outside Ebay for a better price but they wouldn't bite of course....

I wonder how much better than the FX500 they are - if there's one thing I've learned about reviews it's that we all hear very differently from each other AND have very different ideas about what constitutes HiFi sound. Buying earphones you can't send back is a no no for me these days.

I listen to portable music through HiMD minidisc, uncompressed. I went back to minidisc from Cowon MP3 players, partly because of sound preference and partly I just love the whole minidisc experience still. I will say that neither, or any other portable source I've ever heard, can realistically be called HiFi. It's good, but...... Perhaps I just haven't found the right earphones. There are budget limitations alas, so we listen to what the credit card will stand.....

I bought the FX500s after having Senn IE8s for a while. Decent sound but could never get em to stay in place. I'd love to try the Westone 3 & 4 driver earphones but just can't keep on buying stuff on spec. Wouldn't it be great if there was a loan service so we could try before we buy....?

post #14 of 30
Thread Starter 

What kind of music do you listen to willw?  It's buyers like you that make me careful in my evaluations.  Luckily I can audition IEM's in a store close to me.

 

I do like the physical experience too and still have a few Walkman CD players.

 

 

If you already have the FX500, and considering the asking price for the FX700, I think there's more alternatives for your investment.

 

The first one which comes to mind is the Vsonic GR04 flagship edition, it's overlooked due to their model number scheme, recently discontinued, and reduced from $99 to $53 during the stock clearance - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vsonic-GR04-Flagship-Edition-/221046197043

 

At the 200 quid level, well...

post #15 of 30

Thanks Kiteki. I listen to choral music, some classical, some (old) rock, any good vocals, and acoustic. I like a big soundstage and I like to hear everything. I wouldn't describe myself as a bass head, but I love really deep bass - that is, when it's meant to be there, bass guitar, double bass, I want to hear it the way it sounds on stage, but not at the expense of mids & highs. (I once tried Etymotics - not a scrap of bass. Nothing!)

I listen at home through Arcam Alpha 9 CD & amp, which has an immense soundstage, through Dynaudios, neutral, accurate, everything there. I actually bought a jack adapter and tried the FX 500s through the amp, which reveals them as bass-heavy. When I listen thru my minidisc players (MZ-NH1 & RH1) I EQ the bass and high end down a notch and the mids up a notch. This gets it about right for the FX500. I took the black filters out from new.

I've been wondering about the Westone UM3x - the reviews make them seem like the kind of thing I might be after - but, reviews...... I guess I'm looking to get as close to what I'm used to thru my home set-up. The signature can vary a bit of course, but the detail, clarity & balance must be there - and good soundstage would be a bonus too. (I don't find the FX500 has much of a soundstage.) I don't mind spending a bit of money - but I really only want to spend it once.  I know how it gets with earphones.

 I recently tried Beyer DT990 for home use thru the amp. They're OK, not great by any means. So I'm going to stick to the speakers for CDs, and look for some great IEMs for head-fi listening.

Thanks for the link, I'll have a look.

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