It's an HY3 triple hybrid model. Which one (the HY3 or HY3XB) we're yet to know! But the twin BA driver should be the same...
It's an HY3 triple hybrid model. Which one (the HY3 or HY3XB) we're yet to know! But the twin BA driver should be the same...
A little update on my single dynamic driver Flex. At first I thought that I had little fit problems, but after few more days my ears got used to it and now I almost don't feel them. This is my first CIEM though. Also don't judge your firs CIEM out of the box, and not only about the sound but about the fit too. Another aspect is isolation with a feel of vacuum inside ear canal. Isolation is massive compared even with high quality circumaural headphones. After some time this "vacuum feel" actually adds some blackness to music background (if your source is hi-fi enough). About the sound: after some more burn-in and listening actually I like what I hear. Bass is good quality and not offensive and kicks in when music calls for it. Low end is not "always on" but rather "on, when there is big bass in the song". Midrange came a little closer to the ears and vocals sound very good, even when there is quite a bit low end rumbling. Highs are just the right amount for me, but maybe insufficient for some people. The thing is I don't like "Beyerdynamic" style highs with too much enhancement that brings out a lot of crap in bad mastered music. Maybe it lacks some details that single or dual armature versions have in advantage. But maybe it is good to use it with simple source (Sansa Clip+) and not so high quality music (16/44 FLAC or 320 MP3).
BTW My Sansa Clip+ drives them pretty well, and most of the time I listen at around 60-80% of volume (it depends much on the type of music and also individual track loundess). Don't see a need for external amp here. Same story with iPhone 3Gs, it makes them sing louder then I would ever listen.
This is likely to be a bit more than impressions, but not a full review, as I simply do not have the time available to me at the moment to expend on something more substantial. I will however, include some pretty pictures for you all. Well, when I say pretty, I mean ones that I have taken with the camera on my mobile phone…
I am not a professional audiophile, the best I would say about myself is that I know the sound I like, so, take my impressions with a pinch of salt and make up your own mind
I listen to a lot of different genres of music. Everything from Classical music to Death Metal, and all genres you can imagine in between. That said, the bulk of my listening (in no particular order) is Rock, Metal, Psy/Goa Trance, Blues and female vocals. In the last few years however, there has been a noticeable shift in EDM music outside of the already bass heavy sounds of Dubstep and similar genres, for those sounds to be included in music such as Trance, and some of my (small) headphone collection just do not have the bass reach, to cope well with things like Deadmau5 and Skazi.
With that in mind, I have been looking for a while, for an IEM that would provide me with the trebles and mids that the Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10’s (TF 10’s) provide, but that can also provide the bass reach and slam that the TF 10’s just do not have. I particularly like the Vsonic GR07 Mk. II (GR07) as my everyday IEM, and it provides enough bass reach and slam for me without compromising the mids or trebles, but the GR07 just doesn’t quite manage the clarity, definition and sparkle that the TF 10’s have in the mids and treble areas, respectively.
So, my thinking behind getting the HY3, was that the dynamic driver in it would provide the bass reach and slam I was looking for, and the balanced armatures would provide the clarity and sparkle of the mids and trebles that the TF10’s were giving me. Potentially for me then, an IEM for all needs. As a UK resident too, Cosmic Ears prices are extremely attractive, as being in Europe, their products do not attract any additional import taxes to the UK.
So, on the face of it, custom IEM’s for the price that the UE TF10 is still selling for on Amazon in the UK – it’s a no brainer. However…
The thing that concerned me, after reading Swimsonny’s impressions of the original HY3 (now called the HY3XB) is that he seemed to find the bass on them, was swamping everything else, and regarded them as “amazing for EDM” but had concerns if people were listening to other music (apologies for me paraphrasing you Swimsonny, please feel free to correct me). Given that my musical tastes are broad, I absolutely did not want an IEM that was dominated by bass, and Phil at Cosmic Ears, picked up on my concerns and offered to make my HY3 with a new reduced bass dynamic driver that he had. This change in dynamic driver is what is now known as the HY3, and the previous HY3 is now the HY3XB.
The IEM's I offer (brief) comparisons with, are my two favourites, the TF10 and the GR07. Of the two of those, the GR07 is in my ears the most, as I find it the most accommodating for the bulk of the music I listen to, and consistently the most musical across my small collection of IEM's.
Pictures of the HY3:
The box they came in...
The HY3... Close up of the shells...
Otter Box... Clamshell case...
Sources used for comparison:
Sansa Clip Zip (Rockbox)
Ipod Video 5th Gen (Rockbox)
IEM’s used for comparison:
Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10 (TF10’s)
Vsonic GR07 Mk. II (GR07)
Music (albums) used for comparison:
Skazi – ‘My Way’ – FLAC format
Fleetwood Mac – ‘The Very Best Of Fleetwood Mac’ – FLAC format
First Aid Kit – ‘The Lions Roar’ – FLAC format
1200 Micrograms – ‘Gramology’ – FLAC format
Shpongle – ‘Tales Of The Inexpressible’ – 320k MP3
Led Zeppelin – ‘Led Zeppelin IV’ – 320k MP3
Tool – ’10,000 Days’ – 320k MP3
Infected Mushroom – ‘Converting Vegetarians’ – 320k MP3
Reasons for music selection:
These bands/albums are a representative sample of many of the types of music I listen to on a regular basis. They range from female vocals, through complex rock/metal, multi-layered Trance and bass/sub-bass heavy EDM. When you are using a quality CIEM like the HY3, I see little value in using any resolution less than 320k MP3 for music listening – why would you spend £200 on a CIEM and then listen to 128k MP3’s with it ?
Does not dominate the mids and the trebles, and sits well in the mix. Has the extension that the GR07 has, and reaches low enough that it can deal with sub-bass. I do not detect any significant roll off in the lower end of the bass spectrum.
Compared with TF10 – No contest. Bass depth easily beyond anything the TF10 can manage. Not quite as tightly controlled as the TF10 though.
Compared with the GR07 – Out of the box, the bass from the HY3 is a bit woolly and bleeds into the lower mids, this has improved considerably with burn-in and playtime though, and now sounds much better controlled and where it should be in the mix. Bass quality and punch is similar to the GR07.
Initially, out of the box, the mids sounded somewhat recessed, but during play and burn-in, this was undoubtedly due to the bass bleeding into the mids initially, and now, they sit where they should be in the mix. Vocals, both male and female while initially being recessed are now centre in the mix, neither forward or back. Clarity is good.
Compared with the TF10 - Smoother and better presented, the HY3 perhaps lack a little detail compared to the TF10, but there's not much in it.
Compared with the GR07 - More detail than the GR07, but other than that, surprisingly similar.
Smooth and detailed enough presentation with a slight rolloff on the top end. If you are looking for sparkly trebles, then look elsewhere. No sibilance that I can detect though.
Compared to TF10 - Do not have the sparkle and clarity of the TF10’s and are smoother in presentation than the TF10. This may or may not suit your preferences. If you are wanting sparkly trebles, then the HY3 won't suit.
Compared with the GR07 - Not quite as present in the mix as the GR07 has them, or at least that is true for a flat EQ. As mentioned elsewhere by me though, the HY3 respond very well to EQ and you can lift or drop areas of the sound spectrum as you see fit.
Soundstage and Separation:
Soundstage is good, and for complex pieces of music, you can hear where instruments are positioned. It's not the widest soundstage I have ever heard, and it's not a match for my V-Moda M80's, but that's not really a fair comparison to make with a closed back headphone. As far as IEM's go, it's good. Separation is similarly good, with instruments clearly defined and the acid test for me, can I follow one instrument on its own if I wish to - the answer being yes, I can.
A smooth and balanced, detailed presentation, once you have 100 hours burn-in. No particular part of the spectrum is emphasised. I would say that these CIEM's will suit pretty much anyone, for any genre of music, unless you want a particularly bass heavy presentation, in which case the HY3XB is an option for you. I would add though, if you are the sort that likes sparkly trebles or heavily emphasised bass, the HY3 are not going to suit and you may be better off selecting one of Cosmic Ears other configurations. For me however, they are absolutely great, and work well with the music I listen to the most. They are also very responsive to EQ and you can tailor the sound to your preference if you so wish. I would just say that I haven't amped them at this point in time, so I don't know what differences that will make (if any) yet.
Pairing with sources:
I am actually not sure what is going on here. Paired with my Colorfly C3, the HY3 just sound flat and lifeless. It is really odd, because I have no other IEM that sounds like this with the C3. Turn on the Rock EQ setting on the C3 and the HY3 gain some life. I normally favour a flat EQ setting with all my IEM's, so there is something particularly peculiar with this pairing not working and I really don't know what it is - suggestions welcome . The HY3 pairs very well with the Cowon C2 and on flat settings gives a balanced presentation, but once you engage the Cowon's BBE+ and other "sound enhancements", it actually takes the HY3 to a new level, lifting the clarity and enhancing sound right across the spectrum. Paired with the Sansa Clip Zip on neutral EQ, the HY3 is much as you would expect, with the neutral and clinical presentation of the Clip Zip being presented just as it is, with no extra life added by the HY3. Pair the HY3 with the iPod (5th Gen Video) and it is again a similar story, the slight warmth of the Wolfson DAC in that particular iPod is present, with the HY3 neither adding or taking away from that.
At this point, until I have worked out why this IEM isn't pairing with the C3 well, then I would say you are better suited to pairing the HY3 with another source.
Some words about Cosmic Ears (and Project86):
I have found Phil responsive and thoughtful throughout. Phil picked up on my concerns about overwhelming bass that I had expressed on this forum, (following Swimsonny's initial observations) and offered me a reduced bass driver. When they struggled to fit the components in my HY3 shells (I have very shallow ears, apparently), Phil went back to the drawing board and modelled new shells for me. At pretty much any time, I was able to engage in conversation with Phil over Skype to discuss progress, changes to the shells etc. etc. and Phil was very accommodating and helpful. If I have one criticism, it is related to their failure to respond to e-mails, and this would appear to be something that Phil recognised that there had been a breakdown with, while he was away from the office on business, I am sure he will have this in hand now. On a day to day basis though, I find it hard to fault the personal touch that Phil has provided. One other thing worth mentioning was that Phil contacted me before shipment to say that he did not have enough cable to provide the extra, spare cable I had ordered, so instead was sending me an Otter Box (see the pictures section) by way of an apology, and would ship the cable as soon as he had supplies back in stock... Hard to say anything other than what great and thoughtful customer service that is. Personally, I hope Cosmic Ears goes from strength to strength and does great business under Phil's leadership. Can I also extend my thanks to Project86 for bringing Cosmic Ears to my attention.
Sounds great, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.
These sound just like I want the HY3 to sound.
I am still tempted by the triple BA though.
Its Moot as i can't order anything though.
They really need to sort that out. I am struggling to understand why it is taking this long to source components such as cables. God knows how many sales they must be losing at the moment. I hope Phil has it all in hand and resolved very soon.