well, I gave some indication about my taste for sound signature when I mention that I love the sound of my TH900 headphone
RE the fact that no one has yes tested the Roxane I agree with you, but at least I should be able to get answers about my concern " I heard many good things about the 1+2, but I am quite concern with the issue of non consistent fit / isolation that some have with Universal IEMs ? Some seems to never find the correct TIP or correct FIT ! "
I haven't been following Head-Fi for a while ever since my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to splurge on a 1plus2 to see how it is like compared to my ASG-2 for myself. And I ended up getting caught up enjoying it. IMO it is an excellent purchase and really worth my money. I am also one of the fortunate few to be in Singapore at the recent Mook Festival to try out the new Roxanne, so I can try to give you my personal perspective of my comparison between these 2 top-tier IEMs.
I was using my AK120 connected to my Pico SLIM amp for testing. HeadAmp's Pico SLIM is renowned to be flat neutral and analytical, so it should be a pretty good amp for reference IEM testing without any worry of coloring the sound signature. To keep it brief, the following is my observations:
Roxanne (universal demo set)
Fit & physical design:
I thought 1plus2 is a rather huge IEM when I upgraded from ASG-2. But Roxanne is gargantuan compared to them and this is expected with 12 drivers per side inside each. I would say the Roxanne earpiece is about ~1.5x to 2x bigger than 1plus2. Its IEM cable is also very thick since it is 4 pins cable wiring. I estimate the cable's diameter to be around ~0.2" (~0.5 cm) in thickness. However, it is surprisingly supple and can easily coil around in any manner you like which is a good thing. The cable is probably made of very fine copper strands. The variable bass adjuster is located about ~4" to 6" (~10 to 15 cm) from the 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo connector, i.e. near the audio device you are connecting Roxanne to which is another good design decision since the adjuster needs to be located further away from your eyes so that you can see it to adjust the dials. In contrast, ASG-2's bass adjuster is located on the IEM earpieces themselves so it is impossible to fine-tune the bass level while listening to it (unless you get a friend to help you adjust it while you listen; still it is pretty tedious and funny to do it that way). Next is about the sealing and its fit on my ears. The demo set I was testing with is using medium-sized earbuds. Since Roxanne is also shipping in universal form, it makes perfect sense to do a quick comparison against the universal 1plus2 here. I find that the fit and seal on my ears is much worse than my 1plus2. It could be partly due to the size of the earbuds, but I doubt it since I am Asian and my ear canals is probably average-sized which should be good on the medium-sized earbuds. After adjusting the Roxanne's position for a while in my ears, I find that it is mainly due to the fact that it is too huge and heavy which causes an issue when trying to put it in my ears. In addition, the thick IEM cable connecting to the earpieces adds on to the weight even though it is already loop over the top of my ears. I hope this problem will be alleviated with the custom version since it is supposed to be custom fitted to the user.
Looking pass these small fit issues, I would say that the overall sonic performance is top-notched as expected from such an expensive IEM from JH. I don't own the JH13/16 FRs, so I cannot tell you how similar or different they sound to Roxanne, but the Roxanne comes across to me as some would describe it as dark or slightly V-shaped. Others may beg to differ so I don't want to go into that area but rather focus on comparing Roxanne to my 1plus2 here. The moment I connect up the Roxanne to my AK120+Pico SLIM and put them in my ears, my initial reaction to Roxanne's signature is that it is rather bass heavy. My hands immediately went for the screwdriver to turn the bass dial all the way down to minimum. At the minimum position, the bass is still there but much more mild and manageable to my ears (I'm not a bass head). I slowly turned the dials on both left and right channels up from min to max while listening to tracks and observe the change to the sonic signature. (This is 1 very convenient feature of Roxanne over AS-2/ASG-2 in that you can tune the bass to your liking while listening to the music). Anything over midway on the bass dials starts giving you the feeling of a real woofer in a home hi-fi setup. At maximum setting, you really feel like being in a room with a woofer at full blast and the music reverberating all over you. The variable bass feature of Roxanne is also very well done and I didn't detect any distortion or negative impact on the music across the frequency at any dial position (it sounded excellent even at max setting). Next I will try to describe its sound. When it comes to sound signature, I should say Roxanne is closer to my ASG-2 than my 1plus2. Those of you who have read eke2k6's comparison between ASG-2 vs 1plus2 will know how I feel A/Bing between Roxanne and 1plus2. I quote eke2k6 comment here.
eke2k6: "A/B'ing these two iems is actually pretty difficult because they're so different. Switching immediately from the 1Plus2 to the ASG-2 will produce a bloated and muddy mess, while going from the ASG-2 will find the 1P2 sounding tinny and bright. Of course, things right themselves once the brain is allowed to reorient itself to each of the signatures."
This is not to say Roxanne lacks clarity compared to 1plus2. It does in fact reproduce all other details well even amidst the heavy bass at max setting. My main issue with Roxanne when it comes to its signature is that it gives you the feeling that the music is closed up inside your head. I feel that I am in a small room blasted with loud music and heavy bass. On the other hand, 1plus2 is just like what eke2k6 said, it sounds tinny and bright when you just switch over from Roxanne. But after adjusting my brain for a while, it is back to its normal crisp, spacious and very detailed presentation to my ears. 1plus2 gives you the feeling that you are in a huge concert hall full of air and the music comes from all over instead of from inside your head. The music from 1plus2 also sounds more laid back and distant while Roxanne's sounds much closer to you. However, the bass of 1plus2 clearly loses out to Roxanne if you are those who likes heavy impact bass. Each time when I switched over from Roxanne to 1plus2, I have an urge to turn up the volume knob on my Pico SLIM to make up for the softer bass on 1plus2. On the other hand, switching from 1plus2 back to Roxanne gives me the feeling that I have just lost some sharp details of my music. Running through my collection of music tracks comparing Roxanne to 1plus2, I find that Roxanne excels in my Rock/Pop music collection but 1plus2 clearly wins when it comes to Classical/Acoustic genre when bass does not play a major role in the music. IMHO 1plus2 is a better all-rounder for me since I prefer the huge spacious airy feeling it offers over Roxanne and the "not-so-impactful" bass effect can be fixed more or less with the volume knob turned up (You just don't get the reverberating bass effect in an enclosed room from Roxanne which I can live without).
Like what others have said already, I feel that 1plus2 sound signature is on a totally different category so it is hard for me to compare it directly with Roxanne's signature which is in its own category. At the end of the day, it boils down to your own personal sound preference. I have not heard how TH900 sounds like so I cannot help you there.
Edited by Bluebear - 12/19/13 at 1:16am