Stressed Out, Grumpy Tom's Scathing New Years Review
Highlighting only the negative since 2013...
Ultrasone iQ --- DAFUQ??!?
For a while now, I've been bound by morbid curiosity for the Ultrasone iQ. It has been panned universally even before it came out, and today, I shall add further insult to injury. I took what little respite I had today to inflict aural damage to my senses.
What I think of the iQ:
You guessed it. It is bassy and sibilant. Amusingly, I knew that going into the audition since everybody and their mothers told me so, but I thought it was going to be bassy and sibilant in a good way; you know, like fun thumping bass, with airy highs... No. It was none of these things. The bass was bloated and slow, and the highs featured the most annoying display of sibilance I've ever come across in an IEM. It wasn't that the sibilance hurt my ears --- I can handle that. I own or have owned several IEMs prone to sibilance, including, but not limited to, the FI-BA-SS, CK100PRO, DBA-02, Tzar 350. I can handle my sibilance. But the iQ was a different beast altogether; it was just... irritating. Every single time I encountered anything with a hint of sibilance on a track, I was met with extremely distracting sibilance that was akin to a blown tweeter rattling about in a cheap car stereo.
In its defense, the L-plug on the cable is pretty attractive.
Ultrasone TiO --- Ahhh. Much Better.
I can't stress this enough: TiO >>>> iQ. Everything about it was more pleasant; it wasn't sibilant at all, had an equally spacious presentation, had balanced, un-bloated bass, and engaging, solid mids. The housings were also very comfortable, in stark contrast the the weird box-like shape of the iQ (which was surprisingly not uncomfortable, though not exactly the zenith of ergonomic design, either). Unfortunately, the TiO is a case of "I've heard this before!", and the UE600 can deliver 98% (the other 2% still doesn't pay enough taxes) of what the TiO brings for a quarter of the price.
Again, pretty L-plug.
Final Verdict (out of a total of five Jackie Chans, five being the worst):
Edited by tomscy2000 - 1/1/13 at 12:08am