The name says it all! For the same price, which do you prefer? I couldn't find a thread like this, so I decided to make my own :)
JH 10X3 vs UM Merlin
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I'm not sure many people would be able to offer up any insight on this comparison.
There's only a few JH10X3 owners on this site since most opt for the JH13 instead, and even fewer of them (possibly none) have the UM Merlin to compare it to.
I absolutely love my JH10X3's but as far as I know the Merlin would probably be a different beast all together.
I guess the only thing I can ask is, what are you hunting for in a sound signature?
Welcome to head fi, sorry for your wallet.
While I've been very pleased with my JH10X3's on all fronts thus far, each custom IEM varies.
I came from a pair of Monster Turbine Pro Coppers, and I haven't really put them back in my ears since I got my customs aside from a little a/b testing. The bass was slightly less powerful (ever so slight) but far more defined and separated from the mid range. Treble is cleaned up and far less harsh, while allowing me to hear more detail in my music.
The soundstage is a noticeable improvement, and the instrumental separation is a large improvement.
My tastes move all over the board, and I've found that they perform very well with all ranges of music I've thrown at them.
That being said, I think due to the larger dynamic driver being used in the Merlin's they would perform more admirably in the bass department when compared to the single balanced armature.
Everything I've read on reviews about the UM Merlin lead me to believe that it is a fantastic performing IEM as well.
Now a few things to factor in for the cost will be shipping, and impressions.
I'll focus on the shipping costs. Depending on your location it may be more expensive to ship to UM, and you may have to pay an additional tariff on importing the Merlin being that it's coming from China.
JHA is located in Florida so which is often easier to ship to and fro, with shorter wait times for shipping.
These things can be a killer if you need to ship it back for a refit, since things do tend to happen in strange ways.
There have also been some customer service issues that I've observed from the UM thread lately, although some have stemmed from the now defunct Amp City UK, and others from complications due to UM Labs having moved. Although Stephen Guo the North American rep for Unique Melody has been nothing but a delight for me to deal with personally, and others who have dealt with him have similar things to say.
JHA has also had complaints about build time, and other issues over the last year or so from what I've seen. Brittany is said to be quite nice though.
However these experiences are not necessarily typical.
JH Audio is currently running a 15% off sale right now though if you like them on Facebook. Check their page for more details. Valid till tomorrow night.
Currently though Heir Audio has been getting a lot of attention, so you may want to consider looking there as well, and 1964 Ears has just released an updated version of their affordable 3 driver called the "V-3" which is touted to have an improved sound signature.
Food for thought.
Edited by Fizz - 8/26/12 at 12:36am