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[Mini Shootout] Vsonic GR07 MKII vs Final Audio Design FI-BA-SS - Page 2

post #16 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post


This will be interesting eke!

 

 

I know! I'm waiting anxiously etysmile.gif

post #17 of 93

Did you notice any hiss from the SS on the E10? The FI-BA-A1 was incredibly sensitive as well and I definitely got a bit of hiss from the E7. I wish I could try the A1 again with the ODAC + O2. The A1 was extremely source dependent. 

post #18 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnarlsagan View Post

Did you notice any hiss from the SS on the E10? The FI-BA-A1 was incredibly sensitive as well and I definitely got a bit of hiss from the E7. I wish I could try the A1 again with the ODAC + O2. The A1 was extremely source dependent. 

 

Actually, I did. It wasn't enough to affect the music, but it did pick some up. It's funny because the E10 is dead silent with all other iems I've used it on. None from the iP4 though.

post #19 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

 

 

Thanks Eric. You may want to check out the male stripper scene to come up with that kind of money. I hear they get very good tips.

 

 

I thought we agreed to never discuss my third job on this site eke2k6? deadhorse.gif

post #20 of 93

NOTE TO SELF:

 

Do not attend Chicago area Head-Fi meets that will feature a 'surprise guest & performance.'

 

ph34r.gif

post #21 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlySweep View Post

NOTE TO SELF:

 

Do not attend Chicago area Head-Fi meets that will feature a 'surprise guest & performance.'

 

ph34r.gif

 

 

ph34r.gifeek.gif

post #22 of 93

Nice comparison.

 

Although I guessed the GR07 would win before clicking on this thread.. :p

post #23 of 93
Thread Starter 

For those concerned about any mechanical issues on the FI-BA-SS, this is from the person who I sent the loaner FI-BA-SS to compare with his own set, and my GR07:

 

 

 

Quote:

I'll explain why I'm asking. So I just spent the last hour or so A/B-ing my own SS, with x's, in order to ensure that before I am to jump into a comparison, both mine and x's SS sound alike. I didn't have to worry about volume matching, and tested them as follows:

 

 

(NOTE: x's SS on the left, mine shown on the right)

 

 

With both plugged into my O2/ODAC, I went back and forth between a few tracks I'm all too familiar with. I came to notice that they sound nearly identical; keyword being nearly. My set is just over 2 weeks old, acquired through Dimitri, and there seems to be a VERY (and I do mean, VERY) subtle difference between the two. Mine seem to sound a hair or two brighter than x's. On some tracks, it's easier to make out. On others, it's barely noteworthy. Though as subtle as it may be, the subtle difference does exist. There are three possible reasons I can think of:

 

1. Quality control. Let's face it, how many do you know of that own a Final Audio Design IEM? Not many. Hence, there simply aren't enough owners to get a better sense of quality control. In turn, there may be very subtle variations between units, that may have been overlooked during the QC process.

2. Burn-in. This one seems most obvious, as I could easily see mine sounding identical to james' set, some time does down the line. If the treble becomes smoother, it'll give an ever so slightly warm hue to the mids, which is what I believe I'm hearing with james' pair.

3. Revision. Here's why:

 

 

The jack on the left belongs to x's SS, while the one on the right is that of mine. Notice that is not only ever so slightly thicker, but it's also green, unlike my own black one. A revision could have easily gone unannounced, as, once again, there just aren't many FAD owners out there.

 

In any case, I'm convinced that, when the time comes, I can comfortably proceed with comparing x's SS to your GR07 MK II. Although it exists, the difference between mine and x's SS is far too subtle for me to be concerned over, and it took some VERY careful listening to even make out that much! No, there isn't anything wrong with x's SS. They sound every bit as one would expect the FI-BA-SS to sound, and if asked to listen to either one blindly, there's no mistaking either one for an SS.

 

Just thought I'd point that out. smile.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emospence View Post

Nice comparison.

 

Although I guessed the GR07 would win before clicking on this thread.. :p

 

 

:kanyeshrug:


Edited by eke2k6 - 8/30/12 at 7:19pm
post #24 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlySweep View Post

NOTE TO SELF:

 

Do not attend Chicago area Head-Fi meets that will feature a 'surprise guest & performance.'

 

ph34r.gif

 

 

lolbeerchug.gif...Only for the lady head-fi members FlySweep!!

post #25 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

For those concerned about any mechanical issues on the FI-BA-SS, this is from the person who I sent the loaner FI-BA-SS to compare with his own set, and my GR07:

 

Thanks Eke and NC, I'm quite relieved to hear that there's nothing wrong with the FI-BA-SS.

 

That said, makes it all the more mysterious in my book, why you're hearing the SS so differently. Anyway, speculation is moot without knowing your reference point, that's why I've decided to get the GR07 MKII. Will add my impressions to your thread.

 

 

Btw, what is it about Eric and stripping, I thought he was a journalist? (NTIMMOAD... wink.gif)

post #26 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by james444 View Post

Will add my impressions to your thread.

 

 

 

I look forward to it.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by james444 View Post

 

Btw, what is it about Eric and stripping, I thought he was a journalist? (NTIMMOAD... wink.gif)

 

 

Blame the economy

post #27 of 93

I have permission to post the contents of the following PM I received earlier today from the person eke2k6 sent the FI-BA-SS to so they could also compare them to the GR07 MK II using the same tracks eke2k6 had used in the first post of this thread. I'm told the PM I got earlier today is excatly the same (copied & pasted) as the one that was sent to eke2k6.

 

eke2k6's comments in black, the other person's in blue.

 


My evaluation in blue. Since I'm sure I'm nowhere near as acquainted as you may be with the tracks below, I'm going to try and listen for essentially the same elements you yourself critiqued, and provide my own feedback. I'll of course be evaluating my own 320kbps version of each of the tracks listed below, running directly into my late 2011 Macbook Air. I've also used Sensaphonics audio seal test in order to ensure that I have a proper seal with both IEM's.  smile.gif

 

Songs chosen

 

 (I've posted the best quality links I could find under each song).

 

1) Bem, Bem, Maria - Gipsy Kings (FLAC). This song was chosen for the fact that it has a lot going on. From the Spanish guitar rhythms, to the drums, and to Nicolas Reyes' voice weaving in and out of it all, it remains a treat to listen to.

 

Right off the bat, I'm noticing a fair bit of extra midbass on the SS that is not present in the GR07. This directly affects the clarity of the vocals and guitar, and contributes to a slight veil on this particular song vs the GR07. Both do a great job on the sub-bass regions of the bass guitar. The vocals on the GR07 sound more more forward which, along with the better extended treble (allows for more shimmery cymbals), give me a more enjoyable experience.

 

Winner: GR07 MKII

 

The first and most apparent distinction here between the MK II and SS is overall transparency, and here it's in favor of the SS. It appears we certainly hear the two differently, and that's not to say either one of us is right/wrong, of course. I for one am unable to detect a fair bit of midbass on the SS (versus the MK II), that may potentially contribute to a slight veil. In fact, I perceive not even the slightest hint of veil on the SS, with respect to this particular track. I do believe, however, I have a fairly good grasp on what it is you're hearing. As compared to the MK II, the SS has a noticeably fuller sound, and I do mean NOTICEABLY fuller, across the spectrum. I'm trying best to avoid the use of the term thicker here, as I perceive it to carry a negative connotation, more often than not. Hence, the term fuller seems more appropriate. By no means does this hinder the performance of the SS, and I personally prefer it to the comparatively less fuller (again, avoiding the use of thinner here, for similar reasons) sounding MK II. No arguing that they both convey sub-bass wonderfully, but the SS reaches noticeably deeper, and I'm forced to once again point out it's sharp-as-a-ginsu like transparency, that makes it easier to hone in on any one individual region/instrument, and it's made all the more evident with this particular track, where there are quite a few things going on all at once. This places the SS slightly ahead of the MK II here, with respect to imaging and separation. Take my word for it, however, the MK II is no slouch either.

 

As per vocals, I beleive the distinction here lends itself to the efficiency of the SS, in particular. The SS, as you know, is at times too efficient, and when comparing it to anything else (with the exception of my FitEar 334), volume matching becomes quite difficult. Having gotten relatively used to my own SS, however, I was able to volume match fairly quickly, and in turn, with respect to this particular track, I heard Reyes' voice as being no more forward on the MK II, than on the SS. Now, this may be susceptible to change if the MK II is pushed to a moderately louder volume, whereas with the SS, I'm nearly always forced to listen at reasonably low levels, as it's, again, very, very efficient. Simply put, when volume matched as close to one another as possible, they aren't at all too far off with respect to vocal presence.

 

FInally, pertaining to the treble, I can't help but admire both, as they sound equally convincing, especially at 2:00 and onwards, pertaining to the cymbals. Both render the cymbals very naturally, and I can't say I prefer one over the other here. Last thing I wish to mention, through the SS, it's as though I'm able to paint a bigger picture of all that's occuring in this particular track. On the other hand, the MK II, while not providing as big or as clear (transparent) of an image, is still beautiful to look at, if that makes any sense. tongue.gif

 

Conclusion: SS = MK II

 

2) I Gave You All - Mumford and Sons (FLAC). I'm drawn to this song simply because the sound of this band is like no other you'll hear on the radio today. Their combination of traditional folk rhythms with soulful lyrics is captivating. 

 

Again, there's a considerable amount of extra mid-bass in the SS. However, instead of being totally detrimental, it lends some heft to the lead singer's vocals. Unfortunately the upper mids are forward to the extent that, when combined with the slight veil, cause what I can only describe as a radio-ish sound in the vocals. To my ears, separation in the mids and upper registers is done better on the GR07. 

 

Winner: GR07 MKII

 

I honestly tried my level best to listen for it, but once again, I detect not even the slightest hint of a veil. Could it be a possible fit issue, on your end? Anyhow, I beleive you nailed it when you said that the SS "lends some heft to the lead singer's vocals," which it most certainly does. Where vocals are concerned, both the SS and MK II convey vocals beautifully, whilst I find the SS a hair or two more natural sounding. Now, there is one particular aspect here wherein the SS simply excels, and that's the timbre and natural tonality of the guitar. Every pluck and sliding of fingers across strings sounds noticably more natural on the SS.

 

It's towards the second half of the track (2:50 and onwards) where the MK II begins to show it's drawbacks, comparatively speaking of course. Through the SS, it's FAR easier to make out the rather busy passage that follows, while the MK II lasg behind with respect to imaging and separation. On the contrary, the SS conveys a TON of treble energy here, and it may be at the brink of tolerance for some listeners. The MK II sounds noticeably smoother, and in a sense, rather too shy/polite, whereas the SS comes equipt with a battering ram, and doesn't hold back in the least. Where I'm concerned, it's particularly this aspect of the SS that draws me in every time. Treble-enthusiast's rejoice; treble-sensitive's beware!

 

Conclusion: SS > MK II

 

3) Apres Moi - Regina Spektor (320 kbps MP3). This is a song about the poor revolting against an oppressive upper class. What's really impressive is that the artiste seamlessly blends 3 languages into an coherent piece of audio art. This song is primarily piano and vocal driven.

 

Like I mentioned, the track is primarily vocal and piano driven, and the piano is the first thing to jump out at you. Both iems present the piano well, but the SS's rendering of the it has a way of drawing you in as if the two were old childhood friends. Here, the warmth and mids of the SS offer a more euphoric experience, rather than the comparatively cooler presentation of the GR07. It was a treat listening to this song on the SS.

 

Winner : FI-BA-SS

 

To no surprise, both the piano and vocalist, once again, sound comparatively fuller with the SS, conveying a wonderfully natural feel. However, the MK II also manages this track wonderfully, albeit in a MUCH more polite manner. As the track progresses, the SS once again boasts an abundance of treble energy, in an almost aggressive, albeit truly exciting manner. The feeling is akin to the suspenseful buildup in a film, for instance. All throughout, in my head, I found myself on the very edge of my chair, as the suspense builds higher and higher still. Then suddenly, at 4:02, you're surrounded by the intensity of bells surrounding you, and I kid you not, if you close your eyes and lay back through the entire song, awaiting for the build up, it's exhilarating. If ever there was one, I'd say this qualifies as an 'eargasm moment.' All the while, vocals remain so distinctively clear, while the SS trails noticeably ahead, providing a noticeably clearer image of all that's occuring, especially at 4:21 and onwards.

 

Also worth noting, from 2:34 and onwards, the SS renders bass notes MUCH better here, than does the MK II.

 

Conclusion: SS > MK II

 

4) Helping Hand - Yo-Yo Ma, et al. (320 kbps MP3). This happens to be one of my favorite tracks from one of my favorite albums. It's a showcase of what happens when geniuses come together to make music. This is one of the most beautiful videos you'll ever see, and the best sounding 360p youtube video I've come across.

 

Going from the GR07 to the FI-BA-SS, Chris Thile's guitar isn't as clear/pronounced, and Stuart Duncan's mandolin loses definition. Yo-Yo Ma's cello loses a lot of 'sweetness' (when the instrument hits a note, and it just makes you close your eyes and soak it in), and Edgar Meyer's double bass doesn't sound nearly as bottomless as it did on the GR07. Overall, it's just a less pleasurable experience.

 

Winner: GR07 MKII

 

Among all the previous tracks, this one convey's the SS' timbre best, as it noticeably excels the MK II, as far as I'm concerned. Here again, I find the MK II not as convincing, where the timbre and natural tonal quality of instruments is simply not up to par with that of the SS. If I had to sum it up, I'd say the SS sounds comparatively richer, and noticeably more engaging throughout, especially at 3:12 and onwards, where everything begins to increase in amplitude. Let's face it, be it a slow or fast paced track, I always listen to my music for involvement, and the SS gets me there closer than the MK II possibly could every time. For the sake of redundancy, I'm sure it's quite obvious by now what strengths I feel the SS possess over the MK II. This track is no exception.

 

Conclusion: SS > MK II

 

Conclusion

 

As you can see from the final tally, I found the GR07 MKII to be the better iem by a good margin. Not to say the FI-BA-SS sucks or anything, but it just couldn't provide the listening experience that the GR07 did.

 

The one word I'd use to describe the GR07 is natural. It just sounds...right, especially with stringed and percussion instruments. Vocals may be a little dry for some, but for me they're great. 

 

If I had to do the same for the FI-BA-SS, I'd describe it as special. Unfortunately it's just too special to work with your entire music library, especially if it's as eclectic as mine is. However, what it manages to do with the single BA more than justifies its price for me. Would I buy it? No...because I'm a broke college student. Would I buy it when I'm making good money? A resounding yes!

 

FINAL CONCLUSION: Ironically, I find the SS to be both natural and special. Go figure! Nevertheless, the MK II is a brilliant IEM, and the mere fact that I'm comparing it to the most ruthless IEM I've ever owned (being the SS, no doubt) is no small feat. No, it doesn't quite perform as well as the SS, as far as I'm concerned. But nor is it priced to. SInce I was willing to overlook it's asking price long ago, the SS remains my obvious preference, by a long shot; no two ways about it. Those that find themselves in similar shoes, take my word for it, the SS is worth every penny, as far as I'm concerned. In fact, I can't believe I waited this long before I acquired my own, and I now completely understand why our good friend james' owns not one, but two of the exquisite SS.

 

In the end, I find that the MK II (which, again, might I add is an absolute no-brainer, with respect to it's price point) simply doesn't capture the 'rise and fall' (so to speak), nor the emotion of each of the afofementioned tracks as well as the SS. When called for, the SS is noticeably more energetic, engaging, fuller, richer, sharp, transparent, etc. All said and done, I'm now convinced the MK II belongs in my own collection at some point down the line. With respect to it's price, it's a king among men and boys.


Edited by music_4321 - 9/2/12 at 5:05am
post #28 of 93
Thread Starter 

Added Night Crawler's impressions to the first post

post #29 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post

I have permission to post the contents of the following PM I received earlier today from the person eke2k6 sent the FI-BA-SS to so they could also compare them to the GR07 MK II using the same tracks eke2k6 had used in the first post of this thread. I'm told the PM I got earlier today is excatly the same (copied & pasted) as the one that was sent to eke2k6.

 

eke2k6's comments in black, the other person's in blue.

 

 

Nice take as well. I'm just hoping that both weren't plugged in at the same time as in the SS quality comparison. That would effect them both but in this case not equally. I'm assuming that they were plugged into the source one at a time. Slight unit variation is more common than most think and probably less in a single BA than anything else. In a resolved system, I wouldn't expect 2 very informative units to perfectly mirror. It doesn't necessarily relate to a qualitative difference so I certainly wouldn't hold it against a device.

post #30 of 93
Thread Starter 

I've asked NC to evaluate both iems at higher volumes for two reasons,

 

1) The FI-BA-SS, to my ears, is king at very low volumes. However whenever you go up on the volume, things change very rapidly in that the upper mids tend to dominate the treble.

 

2) To me, the GR07 sounds significantly better at higher volumes. My ideal volume rests between 50-75% (depending on my mood) of the iPhone 4's total volume.

 

I'll update this and the final audio thread when he does.

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