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Earsonic SM3 alternative?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I went to Jaben to check out some IEMs, and the service was fantastic and I got to try out a bunch of IEMs! The setup and music is in my signature... I auditioned the following IEMs, and here are my opinions...

Westone 1- Really comfortable, but the sound was a little too thick for my liking.
Final Audio Heaven IV- I just didn't really like this IEM all that much... it sounded a little weak.
Shure SE215- Too bass heavy.
Vsonic GR07- Extremely piercing highs and uncomfortable.
Earsonic SM3- Beautiful, the best sound quality I have heard from speaker/headphones/earphones.

I really like my RE0's, and I preferred them to all of these IEMs, besides of course the SM3. They were beautiful! A wide sound stage, nice and smooth, and they had more detail than even my RE0's! When I listened to "Iron Lion Zion" by Bob Marley, I heard this instrument in the background that I had never heard before. The only issue is that they were selling for more than S$500, which is much too expensive for me... Are there any cheaper alternatives to the SM3?

post #2 of 23
There are many excellent iems but all have weaknesses. I have a small harem and my favorite remains the SM3. Aside from a slight mid-bass emphasis it is a stellar phone.

Of interest, I do own the vsonic GR07 and I think they are excellent. If you are sensitive to highs you could try the Westone um3x. They sacrifice soundstage for imaging but have tight bass & great timbre.

The closest to the SM3 for less money is the TDK BA200. Aside from the flat crappy cable they are excellent. Difficult to find. I bought used from a chap in Singapore.

Hope this helps.
post #3 of 23

I Have just received the Heaven IV and am really quite impressed. Having heard a lot of IEMs i now rarely say this so surprised you did not like them.

 

Also noticed in your sig that you have a cricri, i do not see many others with them, what do you think of it, you couldnt post some experiences on my review you could you?

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/615504/review-hippo-cricri-a-handful-of-energy

 

Sorry but i have not heard the SM3 so i can not help there.

post #4 of 23

If you haven't already, check out Jokers IEM review page. theres over 230 IEM's with in depth reviews. If you should be able to find an IEM that tickles your fancy :P

http://www.head-fi.org/t/478568/multi-iem-review-240-iems-compared-spiral-ear-se-3-way-reference-added-06-03-12

 

Personally though, If you're set on some universals, and have no intention to get customs in the near future, then I would not skimp on them. Off the top of my head, I would go with something a little more pricey such as the W4, W3, UM3X, se535; however you would appreciate the SM3 the most and that should be your first preference. You'll appreciate it much more, even if you have to wait a little longer to afford them. 

post #5 of 23

Take a look at the W4. It has less bass than the um3x, but a more balanced sound, I feel.

I have the um3x and am considering selling it to buy the GR07 cuz the highs aren't exactly cutting it.. but I guess that's just me ph34r.gif

post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originall9 Posted by Gasdoc View Post

 
There are many excellent iems but all have weaknesses. I have a small harem and my favorite remains the SM3. Aside from a slight mid-bass emphasis it is a stellar phone.
%0yOf interest, I do own the vsonic GR07 and I think they are excellent. If you are sensitive to highs you could try the Westone um3x. They sacrifice soundstage for imaging but have tight bass & great timbre.
The closest to the SM3 for less money is the TDK BA200. Aside from the flat crappy cable they are excellent. Difficult to find. I bought used from a chap in Singapore.
Hope this helps.
I'll see if Jaben has a TDK BA200 to test, that could be good. I'll see about the higher end Westones. 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Swimsonny View Post

I Have just received the Heaven IV and am really quite impressed. Having heard a lot of IEMs i now rarely say this so surprised you did not like them.

 

Also noticed in your sig that you have a cricri, i do not see many others with them, what do you think of it, you couldnt post some experiences on my review you could you?

%0y  

http://www.head-fi.org/t/615504/review-hippo-cricri-a-handful-of-energy

 

Sorry but i have not heard the SM3 so i can not help there.

haha I actually went to the Jaben store and asked them for a portable amp for my RE0's and I told them that something from Hippo or GoVibe would be good, and they recommended the Cricri, and I think it is great! Before I bought it, I ac4ually checked out your review :p There is very little to no static when I turn the gain off, even when I am listening to it through my RE0's. I am really impressed with the power it delivers, and while it may not be quite as powerful as an amp in the next step up (like this one from Ordnance I tried), the small form factor, switchable gain and bass controls make it a great product! A3 an amp, it really is quite good, and it makes my RE0's shine! So far, all of the IEMs that I've tried, there isn't one that the Cricri can't drive, I mean IEMs aren't really power hungry... but still... :p

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AyeCee View Post

If you haven't already, check out Jokers IEM review page. theres over 230 IEM's withe20in depth reviews. If you should be able to find an IEM that tickles your fancy :P

%p9 http://www.head-fi.org/t/478568/multi-iem-review-240-iems-compared-spiral-ear-se-3-way-reference-added-06-03-12

 

Personally though, If you're set on some universals, and have no intention to get customs in the near future, then I would not skimp on them. Off the top of my head, I would go with something a little more pricey such as the W4, W3, UM3X, se535; however you would appreciate 4he SM3 the most and that should be your first preference. You'll appreciate it much more, even if you have to wait a little longer to afford them. 

Well put. I will have to do a little bit more testing of what is out there, but so far I really like the sound that Hifiman and Earsonics are able to deliver. I don't like sound that is too thick, or bassy... I like a nice strong, sparkling treble, lush mids, and punchy bass. I want to try out maybe something like the RE272 or the ATH-CK10, but as long as the guy doesn't get annoyed of me constantly visiting his store, i'll be glad to test out some more :) And yea, I have definitely checked out his page.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hasashi View Post

Take a look at the W4. It has less bass than the um3x, but a more balanced sound, I feel.

I have the um3x and am considering selling it to buy the GR07 cuz the highs aren't exactly cutting it.. but I guess that's just me ph34r.gif

It could jus4 be me or something, or it could have just been the sample, but the highs on the GR07 just hurt my ears... I have a lot of songs that have a ton of highs, because I love that kick from the symbols like in "Spaceman" by The Killers!


Edited by stinkysbsc - 7/11/12 at 9:37pm
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

I have thought about Customs, but I think it would be a waste because I'm only 16, and I don't want to have to constantly re-shell... Also, here is a list of the IEMs that I am going to try the next time I go, but so far the SM3 is the best I've heard.

TDK BA200
Hifiman RE272
Audio-Technica ATH-CK10
And I guess I can try out some Westones... 

post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by stinkysbsc View Post

I have thought about Customs, but I think it would be a waste because I'm only 16, and I don't want to have to constantly re-shell... Also, here is a list of the IEMs that I am going to try the next time I go, but so far the SM3 is the best I've heard.

TDK BA200
Hifiman RE272
Audio-Technica ATH-CK10
And I guess I can try out some Westones... 

I just turned 17 (but I'm the size of a 16 yo :P) and I'm saving up for customs at the moment. Ears are constantly growing (no matter how old you get) so the rate at which a teenagers ears grow is only slightly faster than a mature adult. You will end up having to reshell maybe 6-12 months before an adult would (which depending on the person is about 2 years for an adult). I myself am happy to get them reshelled every 1-2 years, but that is just my opinion. 

 

However if you have your heart set on universals, then as I said don't skimp, go for the one you like the best, no matter the price (with in reason :P)! You won't regret it. 

post #9 of 23

Oh and bigger price doesn't mean better sound! As I said go for what YOU think sounds best, reviews should only be used as a guide. The fact that you are trying many IEM's before you buy is great as that is usually hard to do. 

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AyeCee View Post

Oh and bigger price doesn't mean better sound! As I said go for what YOU think sounds best, reviews should only be used as a guide. The fact that you are trying many IEM's before you buy is great as that is usually hard to do. 

Yea, true. I mean the example with the GR07 is a good one. A very well regarded IEM, but I really didn't like it too much. 

When it comes to Custom IEMs, what should I look into?

post #11 of 23

What is your sound preference? What price range are you looking at?

 

 

Average_joe has a fairly extensive thread on custom IEM reviews, as well as information on basically every custom IEM company with all their products and specifications(driver setup, shell material, warranty etc) It's a good start. 

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/541494/multi-custom-iem-review-resource-mfg-list-discussion-21-reviews-heir-audio-8-a-added-7-08-12

post #12 of 23

might want to cross the yamaha eph-100 off your list too, cuz from what I experienced, they have even more piercing highs than the gr07.

 

The GR06 is much warmer than the GR07 so maybe that's worth considering too.

 

In terms of CIEMs, you have a wide range depending on how much you want are willing to spend.

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hasashi View Post

In terms of CIEMs, you have a wide range depending on how much you want are willing to spend.

That's exactly what I am trying to stress! You're better off spending a bit more as you'll get a much better product and you'll appreciate it more!

post #14 of 23

Well in that case.. I've also made myself a list of IEMs that I've considered, ranging from low to high.

 

There's the JH5, which I've heard is quite good for its price. and the obvious top of the line JH16, said to be quite good with the lower registers.

the 1964 Triple driver is worth considering too, as I've read many good words on it

 

for higher end customs, there's the UM Miracle (and merlin), UERM, Heir Audio 8A, and Westone ES5 and es3x.

post #15 of 23
Stinkysbsc you won't be able to try a ba200 at jaben. Stereo has it though. I bought it from em at s$158. I've never tried the sm3s before but I can tell you that the ba200 is quite smooth at the top and th soundstage is quite good...plenty of width and airy too. But the bass is not as fast and punch as I'd like it to be although the quantity is impressive.
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