New here and have been lurking on Head Fi for the past couple of months. Just read all 184 pages of this thread and it seems like these are up my alley. I've found I'm not really a bass head but I do really appreciate quality sub bass in sufficient volume, also clear mids and highs sans anything resembling sibilance. Sibilance to me = shoving toothpicks through eardrums.
My limited IEM arsenal right now consists of Yamaha EPH-100's, which sound excellent to my ears right now. I also have a set of the Nocs NS400 titaniums which I use mainly while at work or on a hike, run, or mountain bike. I must say they sound pretty good considering their $100 price point. The Bower and Wilkins C5's are in the closet right now, I find them a little dark for my tastes.
Last month I purchased a set of Sennheiser IE-80's which I liked overall, however I found them too veiled and sent them back. I've also tried some from the Sony XBA line but need something more forward sounding.
My sources mainly are 320 K MP3's from my laptop, connected USB to an E17. Iphone 4, a couple Ipod Classics, a couple Ipod Nano's as well. Also have an older Headroom Total Airhead amp in the closet which I used a lot a while back. Music preference is wide from classical to speed metal.
Got a set of 200's coming from another Head Fier here, looking forward to checking them out.
Anyone out there with the EPH-100's and the FXZ200 do a comparison? Wouldn't mind hearing about the differences overall between these two. I really like the detail these EPH-100's have, and the sub bass can get down there though slightly light in volume. The mids on the EPH-100 are about perfect, but the treble sounds... different. It is there and not overbearing in anyway, just different. The imaging on the EPH-100 seems above average with decent separation. If anyone has the time to write up a comparison on these it would be greatly appreciated!
Sounds like my 40s are the better choice! Was tempted by the trade forums servings of the 200s
I was also tempted by the 200s as I want bass impact power. If you want that power with a good balance with the rest of the spectrum and the quality, you can go for those, but i think I want cleaner bass than what I hear on the 100s, so I am choosing the 40s to purchase as well.
Here are impressions of these JVC FXZ200s vs. ATH CKN70s. C&Ped from Dsnuts' Discovery Thread.
JVC FXZ200/ ATH CKN70 Impressions/ Comparisons:
Trying to make this one as short and concise as possible since A/Bs and comparative impressions can be lengthy and long winded (fails miserably LMAO). Below contains my impressions of these iems as i have experienced them straight out of my ipod classic/ nano as well as amped through my Fiio E17s with limited EQ settings. So without further ado let's get this thing started!!!
Before I get into comparisons against the sonic capabilities/abilities of these two popular iems i want to address all the other aspects that are not sound related first. As evident from the pic above, the housing of these FXZ200s and CKN70s are vastly different. The 200s are comprised of very light transparent plastic that is a bit bulky, while the 70s are made of a slender tube shaped aluminum with soft rubber rings orbiting them. It's obvious that due to its more compact and minimalist physical attributes the 70s are a lot more comfy, not to mention easier to wear and provides better seal as well. Both housings are really sturdy despite the differences of materials used. Although the unique satellite ring feature of the CKN70s might make it more difficult to wear behind the ears, while the FXZ200 can be easily worn straight down or behind ears.
Since we are on the topic of ergonomics it is also important to note that the CKN70s' cable is of the "J"-cord style, while the FXZ200s is of the traditional "Y"-cord variant. The FXZ200s' cable is superior because it is thicker, of a smoother texture and is easily manageable, though the only "negative" might be the straight 3.5mm male jack in place rather than the right-angled plug. The characteristics of these cables are very different due to the differences of materials used. The ones on FXZ200s' is a lot more compliant and tangle free, while the CKN70s' on the other hand is of a more rugged variant which many have expressed in their complete dissatisfaction as "having a life of its own" due to its constant flexing springing, and snake-like nature.
"J" cord iems such as these CKN70s can be annoying if one do not know how to manage it, but this problem can be easily alleviated simply by clipping them onto your shirt collar. Overall, comfort and better ergonomics goes to the CKN70s due to the smaller housing along with the soft rubber rings which helps with guided insertion and placement. The FXZ200s, due to it's bulkier although surprising light housing can cause some discomfort after a short amount of time when worn straight down, but this problem can be alleviated as well when worn upside down and behind the ears.
Due to the vastly different cable material of these 2 iems, microphonics (cable noise) also varies a great deal. The superior cable of the FXZ200s helps to reduce microphonics to a minimum, while the CKN70s are much more microphonic, but this can be drastically reduced by simply using a clip. After the application of a clip i detect little to no microphonics from my CKN70s even in windy outdoor conditions. TBH clips should be mandatory for any "J" cord iem and i can't even imagine how anyone can use these without it.
Regarding the isolation of these iems, the FXZ200 i would say is average in noise isolation, meaning that when music is on you can't hardly hear your surroundings but when the music is off, you can hear everything clearly no matter the type of tips used. Isolation on the CKN70 with the MH1C tips is above average because of the better/ easier seal which helps to block out some background noise even when the music is off. The stock tips that comes with both of these iems are pretty sub par, therefore one has to properly tip roll in order to get the best fit, sound, and isolation. For me the medium Sony MH1Cs tips works the best with the CKN70s (as well as Sony hybrids due to their similar built) and as for the FXZ200s it's the medium auvio or the Philips SHE9700 tips.
Malleability and Scalability are two terms that accurately describe these FXZ200s for me. My set have had over 500hrs of burn-in from the previous owner and i have been burning them in for almost 3 weeks now, off and on, therefore they should be properly broken in. Straight from my ipods the highs and mids are forward but not overly extended which took me kinda by surprise. Coming from the budget-fi JVC camp, there seems to be always some issues with hot/ harsh/ sibilant treble but it wasn't the case with these FXZ200s. The treble might even be too polite for my taste tbh. Although the mids on these FXZ200s are really nice due to some sparkle, i wished the highs also have this attribute as well. A touch more sparkle and extension in the treble region would have made them a lot more balanced and engaging. I tried to set the EQ on my ipods to the "Jazz" setting in order to further extend the highs but it didn't sound right so i ended up leaving it on "Flat".
Despite that the FXZ200s are adequately driven straight from my ipod classic/ nano they sound only ok with certain albums, while others will completely floor you. What i mean by this is that the "WOW" factor of these FXZ200s is not consistent in their rendition with regards to all music (As ghostfits has mentioned). They render some albums very beautifully, especially those that are mastered well and is sub bass oriented. So it's fair to say that what you get out of these FXZ200s can be somewhat random, often times is left to chance. It's either hit or miss, but even when it's not hitting all those sweet notes the music still sounds good. BUT Oh man when these FXZ200s do hit those sweet notes there is just crazy amounts of synergy and power which sounds SPECTACULAR!!!
I'm not sure of the exact reason but certain albums just gel with these FXZ200s, and the result is a full authoritative bold and big sound that can literally make your question whether you were listening to a full size set of headphones or a pair of iems. I have never heard such a bold and powerful sound even from my headphones before. Some describe this phenomenon as being similar to a "2.1 speaker system" but for me they sound more like a sweet set of full size bass audiophile headphones. Nonetheless, despite such a powerful sound there is little to no mid bass hump or bleed into the other frequencies due to the independent sub woofer system that is utilized hence effectively separating the mids and treble outputs from the bass. My only complaint regarding the low end is that there could be more lushness to them, because it can sound a bit dry and boxy at times.
AMPED FXZ200: Although these FXZ200s can be driven to fairly loud volumes straight from both my ipods, it has to hit the upper 80% levels in order to achieve the best sound. From this observation i already knew that they were power hungry iems, hence i acquired an amp to see how well it will scale. Everyone from the FXZ100/ 200 thread was correct when they said these scale nicely with more power, so when amplified the sound becomes a bit faster and less dry especially in the bass regions. Everything was set to zero on my Fiio E17 except with the gain at (+ 6dbs) and volume at 33, all the while connected to my ipods using either a 3.5mm to 3.5mm male to male cable or the Fiio L9 cable. I assume the Fiio 17 is fairly "neutral" because it didn't seem to color nor flavor the sound coming out of my ipods. It basically sounded as if it was coming straight from my i-devices but with more oomph to it (Thanks WAYNE for giving me a heads up on this=).
These FXZ200s not only scale beautifully when amped, but this also made them more malleable as well. As i mentioned before, they didn't sound good when EQed the "Jazz" preset straight from my ipods, nonetheless while these FXZ200s are being amplified at the same time the sound is much more balanced and coherent. Highs are now well extended, though still lacks a bit of sparkle while the mids maintain its composure and elegance. Not to mention the low end become even more mind blowing now. When amped and set to the "Jazz" preset many albums that sounded kinda bland straight out of my ipods before now sounds much more engaging. Therefore malleability and scalability would be a fitting way to describe how these FXZ200s sound because these two factors truly make them shine.
So how do the new kid on the block, the ATH CKN70s fare against these FXZ200??? Well it is difficult to say which one is "better" but it is possible to describe how each sounds differently so one can pick which is closer to ones' personal sound signature. All my listening with my CKN70s were done straight from my ipods as i found that amping them was not necessary since they are adequately driven to loud volumes by most mp3 players. This might be a negative or a positive depending on how you plan to use them. But i am sure they sound marvelous when amped as well.
The bass on these CKN70 should be sufficient for your average music listener, but for bass heads they might find it a bit lacking. I would say the bass on these CKN70s is perfect because it matches really well with the rest of the sonic spectrum. The mids and highs are really forward- in fact the highs might be a bit too forward because they sound kinda bright with some sibilance when listening at high volumes. Having heard some of the carbon nanotube lineup from JVC, the sound of these CKN70s definitely aligns with the rest of those. The sound signature and presentation are very similar in that you will notice a lot of micro details and nuances in your music due to it sounding more 3D and Hi-Def. Mids and highs on these are all over your face with a crazy amount of sparkle to them, along with a lush low end definitely makes these CKN70s "sexy" sounding. Some have mentioned that the "treble" might sound a bit "artificial" in these CNT micro driver iems. Compared to the FXZ200s, the CKN70s does in fact sound less "realistic." I would say the CKN70's presentation is more musical due to its faster and more engaging sound. Although there is a lot less quantity as compared to the FXZ200s, the bass is more lush and attack is quicker on these CKN70s. The sonic presentation of these CKN70s is more Hi-Def, elegant and upfront as compared to the more laid back/ spacious and more powerful presentation of the FXZ200s.
When you directly A/B these two iems, the CKN70s might actually make the FXZ200s sound a bit boring because of the more "traditional" old school type of sonic presentation of the FXZ200s. This difference could also be attributed to the older dynamic tech drivers used in these FXZ200 against the new carbon nanotube micro drivers utilized in the CKN70s. I guess that's the nature of the beast because dynamic drivers seem to provide much bigger bass/ sub bass frequencies but will lack the lushness and speed of the newer CNT drivers. Therefore the only thing that is holding these FXZ200s from true greatness (for me at least) is the lack of lushness in the bass as well the need for more sparkle and extension in its treble.
Comparing the CKN70s to the FXZ200s is like comparing sushi to filet mignon, both are amazing in it's own right. Even though i have never had filet mignon, that's how i imagine it would taste like when listening the FXZ200s; hearty yet classy at the same time. The CKN70s has this really elegant and refined texture to them which is similar to sushi in characteristics. These fundamental difference makes it really difficult to A/B the two since they are just too different sounding, so it all boils down to ones sound preferences. Neither of these are truly the best, because there is simply no best, just different styles of musical presentation and rendition.
P.S. To be honest i really don't mind the cable on these CKN70s, they are really crappy especially for such an awesome sounding iem but their constant snake-like flex nature makes them almost defy gravity, and when a clip is applied there is little to no strain from them. I like this stupid cable. haha
Awesome post, lots of great info on these. Can't seem to pull these things out of my ears. Exactly what many have already mentioned when comparing it to a 2.1 setup. I've really enjoyed the Yamaha EPH-100 set I've got, but these sound so good it's literally hard to set them aside... the Yamahas are chilling on the desk looking pretty lonely.
After reading through this thread it seems some doubt how well these would hold up during physical activity, exercise. So far I haven't had any fit issues while moving around the house. I plan on taking them with me on a climb this weekend and I'll post back how they do if anyone is interested.
Really enjoying the track from this one on these FXZ200's.
From the Batman soundtrack, done with a GoPro while beta-testing a mount of one of my trekking poles late last fall.
I'm referring to the amp as a whole. People who like artificially toned instruments - and there seems to be a whole lot - will obviously think the C&C BH is better.
havent heard the BH but i can already tell you the BH is better. E11 was complete garbage.... easily one of the worst amps i have tried. Background noise like no other, any sensitive iem can pick it up. E11 was basically a different way to raise the volume.... it did nothing at all. Most of the time the headphone out was better than with the e11 on any device. only thing it had for it was....cheap, good form factor, accessible to pretty much anywhere in the world and it matched nicely with the sansa fuze. It's just the cheapest first "upgrade" newbies can make without break the bank...only reason it did so well. The d-zero was just as bad...but atleast that had a dac. A good CMOY would be a better option than the e11.