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Custom IEM and diminishing returns. - Page 2

post #16 of 41

These days, there are a lot of universal options that comes close or surpasses the performance of customs. So it's hard to say for sure if customs are worth it. For example, my UE 900 is better than my Sensaphonics 2X, and my 2X is better than my SE535. Price point wise UE 900 is only $399 and Sensaphonics 2X is $750 now. I would even go as far to say that my UE 900 surpasses the performance of the old UE-10 Pro.

 

Personally I think the decision between custom and universal is more and more about ergonomics and not just about sound quality. I can wear my customs for a much longer period of time without irritation as compared to universals. For some people with certain ear shape, their desired universal IEM will never work. For example, UE 900's casing can still be too big for some people to fit into their ear. I think this is closer to your use case more than just "what sounds best."

 

The amount of sound isolation is dependent on the material of the custom IEM. Hard acrylic shell and soft silicone shell not only blocks different amount of sound, but blocks differently across different frequency. In general soft silicone would block more sound than hard acrylic. Also in general either would block more than universal fits. However the perception might be different, for example universal might block more sound of people talking, while custom might block more low rumbling engine noise (totally just an example, I've done no subjective test of this whatsoever).

 

What is reasonable to be driving from an unamped iPod? I've used IEM north of $1000, and there are qualitative difference that's easily identifiable to IEM that is lower in quality. Keep in mind IEMs are designed to be driven from very low powered sources (musicians, on stage, wireless transceivers), so it doesn't take a whole of power to drive the "difference in quality" out of them. Of course they will sound better if you have a good amp, but this isn't the same situation as full-sized headphones that sound like crap without an amp and sound like the gift of god when amped. You *will* hear a difference even at low power.

post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindrone View Post

These days, there are a lot of universal options that comes close or surpasses the performance of customs. So it's hard to say for sure if customs are worth it.

 

      The 4.Ai (IEM) and the 3.Ai (IEM) have the same internals as their CIEM cousins, the 4.A and the 3.A, thus the final differences should be little to none.

 

700

Dr. John Moulton

Here at Noble, we craft some of the finest universal and custom in-ear monitors available today. 

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post #18 of 41

I think universal-ized customs are exceptions to this xD

post #19 of 41
Thread Starter 

Lindrone.

 

Thanks for the reply. Makes a lot of sense to me. One of the many areas where HiFi knowledge is not particularly transferable :) 

 

 

My fit issues are due to a small and shallow concha. I bought a set of Branwavs R1 to try them out (office use),  and they are agonising after a short tine as they put need t be angled oddly to fit into my ear canal. Given them to the wife. Even My GR06 are not truly long term comfortable, the adjustable nozzles are brilliant though.

 

Customs seem to be the best way to get the sort of fit and size I am after (they will need to sit inside the concha so my helmet can fit over).Plus they are quite blingy :)

 

I seem to be getting closer and closer to buying an amp as well. Even I feel sorry for my wallet!

post #20 of 41

If W4 were around a couple years back I would never have bought JH13 or JH16.  I find it that good.   I'd take W4 over JH13 and find JH16 only a little bit better.

 

JH5 is ideal place to start with custom IEM.  Of perhaps $10,000 spent on IEM's the last decade, I would say the JH5 and W4 are the best value/sound for the money IMHO (Also taking ergonomics into account). 

post #21 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post

If W4 were around a couple years back I would never have bought JH13 or JH16.  I find it that good.   I'd take W4 over JH13 and find JH16 only a little bit better.

 

JH5 is ideal place to start with custom IEM.  Of perhaps $10,000 spent on IEM's the last decade, I would say the JH5 and W4 are the best value/sound for the money IMHO (Also taking ergonomics into account). 

Can't agree more. Do you find the westone to be really easy on your ears and has magical vocals? I love it a looot too.

post #22 of 41
Just on sleeping with custom IEMs, if they're an acrylic shell (which most of them are) then they're not going to be comfortable to have in when you're lying on your side, as there is no elasticity in them. A universal such as Westone 4 or Shure SE535 that has a flush design with the pinna will be far better for this purpose, as the soft tips have "give" in them and won't press against your ear canal and cause you pain. Silicone shells will vary here but not many manufacturers give you that option.
post #23 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by czqdtc View Post

Can't agree more. Do you find the westone to be really easy on your ears and has magical vocals? I love it a looot too.


Wish the W3 / W4 came in the um3x shell.  In fact all IEMs should come in that um3x form factor:)  fits my ear perfectly.

post #24 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by czqdtc View Post

Can't agree more. Do you find the westone to be really easy on your ears and has magical vocals? I love it a looot too.

Like so many have said, W4 does nothing wrong.  Maybe the first IEM have have heard where I can't pick out a fault which I could do with every other IEM I have heard including JH13/JH16.  Understand, I do use a little EQ bass and treble to make it a bit more exciting but it stays pretty true to neutral relative to other IEM's.  I find bass to be just about right but it is amazing how the W4 reminds you of it's accuracy when it goes REAL DEEP reproducing bass.  Deeper than W3 which surely has more bass(mid) presence.  It also has an uncanny ability to reveal Etymotic-like detail but with an overwhelming amount of smoothness.  Zero fatigue.

post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post

Like so many have said, W4 does nothing wrong.  Maybe the first IEM have have heard where I can't pick out a fault which I could do with every other IEM I have heard including JH13/JH16.  Understand, I do use a little EQ bass and treble to make it a bit more exciting but it stays pretty true to neutral relative to other IEM's.  I find bass to be just about right but it is amazing how the W4 reminds you of it's accuracy when it goes REAL DEEP reproducing bass.  Deeper than W3 which surely has more bass(mid) presence.  It also has an uncanny ability to reveal Etymotic-like detail but with an overwhelming amount of smoothness.  Zero fatigue.

If neutral means a flat frequency response then the W4 is far from neutral with excessive bass and a sizable dip in the upper mids. This dip has been confirmed to be plainly audible by many head-fiers. There are pretty much always W4's in the FS forums.

I've no doubt you enjoy them, I'm just offering a counterpoint for which I've seen quite a bit of evidence.
post #26 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnarlsagan View Post


If neutral means a flat frequency response then the W4 is far from neutral with excessive bass and a sizable dip in the upper mids. This dip has been confirmed to be plainly audible by many head-fiers. There are pretty much always W4's in the FS forums.
I've no doubt you enjoy them, I'm just offering a counterpoint for which I've seen quite a bit of evidence.

Regarding bass....RELATIVE to other IEMs! 

 

Excessive bass?  Line up virtually all dual, triple and quad universals on the market and W4 has among the least amount of bass.

 

They are put up for sale on the forums because there is not enough bass, not because they have too much bass.  LOL!  People that don't like them say they are "bass lite."

 

Having said that, I have no use for neutral and ruler flat.  It is simply boring and unemotional.


Edited by Spyro - 11/7/12 at 3:10pm
post #27 of 41

I have had some traffic issues with high isolating IEMS in the past so would recommend something that does not completely block out traffic horns or in my case... sirens :(

post #28 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post

Regarding bass....RELATIVE to other IEMs! 

 

Excessive bass?  Line up virtually all dual, triple and quad universals on the market and W4 has among the least amount of bass.

 

They are put up for sale on the forums because there is not enough bass, not because they have too much bass.  LOL!  People that don't like them say they are "bass lite."

 

Having said that, I have no use for neutral and ruler flat.  It is simply boring and unemotional.

 

Ah okay I wasn't sure where you were coming from. That makes sense as most iems do have much more bass than flat. I was responding to your use of the word "neutral" and the claim that the w4 does nothing wrong. I only wanted to point out that those two statements are contentious given the definition of "neutral" and how many people have found them too dark in the upper mids.

 

I'm sure many people enjoy them very much. They seem to hold their value pretty well.

post #29 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnarlsagan View Post

 

Ah okay I wasn't sure where you were coming from. That makes sense as most iems do have much more bass than flat. I was responding to your use of the word "neutral" and the claim that the w4 does nothing wrong. I only wanted to point out that those two statements are contentious given the definition of "neutral" and how many people have found them too dark in the upper mids.

 

I'm sure many people enjoy them very much. They seem to hold their value pretty well.

W4 is more "neutral" than ES5 and JH13 to me. ES5 has too much upper-mid range to me. JH13 has not enough low-mid range and too much sub-bass to me. It's all subjective.

post #30 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by czqdtc View Post

 JH13 has not enough low-mid range and too much sub-bass to me. It's all subjective.

Exactly my thoughts on JH13.  Amazing for a $1,200 IEM to have such a blatant "deficiency."

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