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The diary entries of a little girl in her 30s! ~ Part 2 - Page 1261
Gear mentioned in this thread:
I'm maintaining healthy skepticism when it comes to the Roxanne.
I'm actually very fond of the sound of Jerry Harvey's CIEMs---especially with the Freq-Phase updates---but the build of their products has disappointed me. Their former flagship, the JH-3A, has a lot of issues. The amp produces a lot of electrical noise, including ground loop type buzz (regardless of where I use it), and there's a low level whine present when the bass is boosted using the amp. The cable sockets on the shells aren't finished well, and the pins stick out quite a bit; despite that they're actually incredibly difficult to remove and re-insert. The stems of the shells aren't fully finished and are instead left rough, which is problematic on something meant to go in your ears. Obviously not everyone has had these issues, but they are all present on my set which was ordered earlier this year. This was their previous flagship product, and it's a product that costs roughly what the Roxanne is slated to cost. The demo unit in Jude's video looked really nice, and I'm sure the initial batch will be of similar quality. I just hope they maintain this standard later on too.
Also from a conceptual standpoint, there are two things I'd worry about potentially going wrong. The first is the sheer number of drivers. I don't subscribe to the "moar drivers = better" school, and some of the most impressive CIEMs I've heard recently have fewer drivers than a lot of these newer models. More drivers tend to strike me as more opportunities for things to go wrong, more chances for the sound to be disjointed and lack cohesiveness. Secondly, the bass boost in the new cable system seems like an opportunity to introduce distortion into the mix. From Jude's brief impressions however, I'm looking forward to these getting it right. Despite my not finding a particular advantage to cramming as many drivers as possible into a shell, I do maintain an interest in hearing these "boundary pushing" models just because they are so complex, and overcoming the difficulty of getting everything to cooperate in tandem is impressive in its own right if ultimately excessive. After all, audiophilia is often about excess and the indulgence therein.
As is so often the case, I find the attachments I form to these things seemingly arbitrary. This new flagship appeals to me first and foremost because it's named Roxanne. The entire shell being made of carbon fiber is particularly obscene in the non-functional way a car steering wheel or shifter knob being made of carbon fiber is obscene, a yuppie ornament that implies a performance boost: the psychosomatic whisper that these things sound faster. Still it reminds me of the Sony Qualia 010 in all of its excessive, obscene glory.
There are four CIEM companies I'm thinking about doing business with in the coming months. That's kind of disturbing.
As a note, if it's proper carbon fiber, that means the shells are going to be more durable than they were. In fact, I had to spend some money recently to reshell one of my jh13s because the cable had broke at the solder point and it hit concrete and I'm confident that wouldn't have happened had it been a carbon fiber based shell instead of whatever plastic it is now.
I am with you on the more doesn't necessarily mean better opinion though.
I'm trying not to pay attention to the new sealed LCDs, too. I'm happy with my lcd-2/asgard-bifrost combo, I'd like not to feel the compulsion to upgrade.
Edited by tjcaustin - 10/5/13 at 5:47pm
Carbon fiber is an interesting material. It's extremely rigid, so while it may be strong in some ways (like warding off direct impacts), there's not much tolerance for bending, so it can break under the right stress pretty easily. Take the Sony Qualia 010 which I mentioned above. It was the first headphone to have a carbon fiber frame. This made it lightweight---disturbingly so---and extremely comfortable, but the headband especially was prone to snapping in two. A carbon fiber shell on a CIEM however would probably be a much more durable proposition given its shape compared to a headband which, by its very nature, needs to flex quite a bit. However I'm not sure the benefits in this particular application would be that much better than acrylic, which is the material from which most shells are made. When you describe the failure of your JH13Pro, do you mean to say it was the cable that failed? I'm not seeing how a carbon fiber shell would prevent a cable failure like that, though the new locking mechanism JHA is implementing looks more sturdy and might do just that. Either way, regarding shell material, I'm not so sure a more rigid material is better when it comes to something I'm sticking in my ears. Silicon shells for instance tend to be regarded as more comfortable.
Of course, this is all assuming these shells are even made purely from carbon fiber. I haven't seen anything so far to indicate the carbon fiber shells aren't just decorative. That is to say, that it's not just a layer of carbon fiber covered by acrylic or resin and instead 100% carbon fiber. If it's just decorative, then there would really be no genuine benefit I can fathom. To that end, my main point with the whole carbon fiber thing above was purely aesthetic. To me it just gives off this slightly cheesy pseudo-performance vibe, especially when applied to stuff like shifter knobs, fountain pens, and ear pieces. I just want to go "vrrrroooom! vrrrrroooom!" when I see it. Then again, I'm the sort of person who finds slightly cheesy things endearing. So it's actually not a strike against them in my book LOL.
Another point I sort of implied above---one that actually IS a strike against them in my book---is that if JHA gives people shells with jagged acrylic, I hope they do a better job with the carbon fiber which is a very tricky material to work with, far more so than acrylic AFAIK.
Edited by MuppetFace - 10/5/13 at 6:14pm
Cable failed, it hit concrete and the shell broke. So yeah, the cable broke first (DIY, so that's on me), but concrete finished them off and I suspect that a carbon fiber shell would have just cost me the time to redo the cable, not the month or so for a replacement shell to be completed. Of course, knowing my luck, it still would have hit in the exact right way to do the same thing and I'd be out more for a reshell XD
If they do end up being a kind of layered whatever, I'm in your camp at that point. Carbon fiber because yay carbon fiber is meh and would make it easier for me to put them out of my mind as a replacement for my jh13s.
I've been kinda following JHAudio stuff for three or four years though and I think you're the first that has mentioned getting a set that wasn't completely smooth finished, too. But it doesn't sound like that's a complete deal breaker, just a hesitation because of prior experience, which I can't disprove obviously.
^ That was a poor attempt at trolling on my part.
I thought Indigo Prophecy had some really abysmal game design and was just kinda passable in other regards. I got the same impression while watching quite a bit of Heavy Rain when it was still a thing. Doesn't help that the game engine makes all their characters look bizarre. I'm sure by some objective standard their facial animations are better than HL2's, but my brain constantly tells me otherwise and it's rather jarring.
- The diary entries of a little girl in her 30s! ~ Part 2
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