Originally Posted by gnarlsagan
Is your real name M. Night Shyamalan? Because that's quite a twist. Did your taste change or did you were you able to further modify the 4r's sound?
After switching to the 232 tips the treble just opened up enough that I started really liking them. Also, The more and more I used the 4Rs the more and more I got sick of the fit issues with the pfe232. If you've read my other posts, or possibly earlier in this thread, I talk about the fit of the 232 causing sibilance. I can completely remove the sibilance without negatively affecting the overall sound quality by forcing the tips in further than they are designed to go. However, this isn't as comfortable as the 4Rs, or the 232 for that matter if they were fitting normally.
So the fit is quicker, better, and more proper with the 4R. The sound is more flat, as I've always noted, but I felt they were "dull" without the added treble. The tip change fixed that. None of these difference are really "night and day" to most people probably, but the treble opened up significantly enough that I can easily tell you which tips are in blindfolded. Side by side comparison is just super obvious as well.
Also, the more I hear the 4R and really try a lot of different music, the more I prefer the flatness and thicket sounding mids. The 232 just became too V shaped in my mind. The treble opened things up and made them sound more realistic, but the lack really good even mids, which gives them the V shape. I also, surprisingly, was starting to think the bass is a little too emphasized on the 232. There are songs that I know very well on studio monitors and speakers that sound bloated in the bass on the 232. Again, this is relative. I don't think they're too much bass for a headphone, but I prefer the more neutral higher quality 4R bass. It has more in the bass area that a bass instrument has on the 4R. The pfe has more low bass, so it thumps more, but often times the "bass" sound of a bass guitar is missing more in the pfe232.
Also, in comparison to the 4R I was starting to think the treble on the 232 is just a tad too raised. Perhaps it's my ear and the sibilance thing again, but even when I'm not hearing sibilance, it feels like the treble is almost boosted in a raspy region. Maybe 12-14k or something near there. In one way it makes drums and cymbals sound very metallic and realistic, but in another way some drums and other instruments come across with a raspy-ness that it very un-realistic. The 4R doesn't have this at all. In fact, if I eq the 4R to have the same "level" of treble as the 232 it sounds higher quality. It is just a smoother phone.
At first I was surprised that the 232 sounded so good with only two drivers, and sort of surprised the 4R didn't have more bass and treble with 4 drivers! However, I believe the use of four drivers is strictly to make the transition between frequency ranges as smooth as possible. I get the sense that the 4R has a low bass driver, a bass driver, a mid driver and a treble driver. If they could add one more high treble driver they would just be mind bogglingly good. But the 4 drivers each take a very nice region of frequencies and don't require a lot of dips and troughs with the crossing over between regions.
I feel like the more I listen to the pfe232, the more I can clearly hear there is a bass driver and a treble driver. The mids, while high quality, are very low in the mix, because I think they tried to get the best crossover they could between the two drivers, but the mids are really the end of the treble and the end of the bass coming together. I think a three driver 232 would be incredible as well The did do a great job with two, but the 4R in my opinion is much smoother between ranges. The mid is especially smooth.
Another aspect is mixing. The more I used the 232 the less I found them ideal for mixing music, which I need to use headphones for in my apartment, and further more sound isolating headphones. The V shape is simply not accurate enough. There are literally things that I can't easily gauge in a mix, because they don't reproduce enough mid level to be used in that regard. Sure, you can mix with anything, but it's just that much harder. The 4R are not only flat, but they scale very well in quality on my sound interface.
Next is another aspect of the fr curve. I prefer to use no eq, however, in the event that I do, I would like to use as little as possible and get the highest quality results. I have found a few things. Based on the measurement graphs at goldenears, I can fairly accurately "counter" the frequency bumps and dips with eq and achieve relative flatness on both sets. However, with the pfe232, the raspy nature of the treble never goes away, even if I muffle the treble all the way down. It isn't a bad raspyness, but it's there and I'd prefer not to have it. The 4R has zero negative properties that I can hear so far. EQing the 4R to flatness results in a very hi-fi sound.
I also tried accudio with both sets. I find their "gradability scale" interesting. They consider the pfe 232 a slightly more adaptable set with accudio. I assume it is because looking at the graph the 232 appears to not "lack" any frequency, where the 4R has a dip in the lower treble and high treble. However, I can honestly say that the 4R sound noticeably more flat and reference with accudio than the 232. The 232 seems to have a nasaly tone in the mid/treble that you can't remove (unless manually eqing). The 4R sounds excellent across the board. They are a little treble prominent with the accudio hi-fi setting, but only slightly and smoothly. So it just sounds like a slightly bright hi-fi sound.
So basically I weighed my options and came to these conclusions:
4r scales better with my recording gear
4r is more comfortable with my ear situation
4r required less eq to sound better if needed
4r sounds better with accudio hi-fi flat setting
4r has zero sibilance or spikes in any frequency range
4r is $80 cheaper
4r comes with a better harder case
4r comes with more tips
4r comes with a volume adapter
in the best possible situation with my gear the 4r comes out sounding more reference and hi-fi
the pfe, while very very good will probably satisfy people wanting more bass thump. even with the bass boosted all around on the 4r the pfe 232 is still more "capable" at thumping bass lines. I think the 4R sounds better, but it takes more to get it thumping. The pfe have a few optional filters, although they all go downhill in my opinion from the grey filters.
The things that were leaning me towards the pfe232, such as the depth and brightness and the overall details became much less of a difference with the 232 tips on the 4r. Add to that the fact that I felt the need to eq the mids back into the picture and I feel i might as well just eq more treble and bass into the 4r and it will still sound smoother and better. I also felt that in the event that I didn't have any eq, the 4r was more overall pleasing than the 232.
I can honestly say that i "have" been flip flopping, and this may seem like a switch, but I just post my thoughts as I go. So, some things may not be familiarized and once I get used to them I realize my opinion has changed. Or I find something new like the tips and that changes things. But in the last 3 days I've probably listened to enough music to lose some hearing! And not even loud music. Ha. I've been listening for hours and hours on end. Comparing at different speeds swapping them and spending time with one each night and then comparing again the next day. Resting and then comparing again. Uber comparing sessions. I can say I've probably spent over 30 hours in the last 3 days comparing. :-P Literally.
They both have ups and downs, but I feel the 4R have less downs. And i slowly came to the realization that to get a truly flatter sound, no set i've tried so far would work without eq. So then if I had to eq, the 4r was the better choice requiring less eq and providing better results overall.
Add all that up, and that's pretty much how it went. Some songs seemed better on the pfe because it revealed a sort of natural open treble that allowed things to breath. Other songs sounded much more realistic because something in the mid range required the smooth more forward mid of the 4r and almost sounded hidden on the 232. Other songs sounded great with the more thumping bass of the 232, while other songs still sounded bloated and more natural with the accurate bass of the 4r. I was comparing and comparing and couldn't decide. Since I was familiar with the 232 and not the 4r I think I was leaning towards the set I knew more and since they were fairly equally matched in different ways I was leaning that way. However, with the advent of the tip change (in both directions) the 4r really opened up the possibilities. And that lead to the eq stuff and etc. etc. But basically now I am happy with no eq using the 232 tips on the 4r, however, eqing the 4r can improve the flatness and the sound gets noticeably better
accudio does a great job, but there is one very simply eq adjustment that I found makes the biggest difference. that is cutting the midd bass around 300hz or so down a few db. this makes things sound more open, cleans up the definition and actually improves the low bass as the mid bass sort of masks things a bit. again, relatively speaking. unchanged these are still the best iem i've heard, but the eq just improves them further if desired. so accudio is a good option, but very similar results can be achieved by cutting the mid bass and making one or two very minor treble adjustments to counted the dip and hump in that region based on the graphs.
O.k. now that i've written a novel, just let me know if you have any questions. hopefully i wasn't too "all over the place". :)