Very nice Joe. Thanks!!!
- 954 Posts. Joined 4/2012
- Location: Irvine CA
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Very nice Joe. Thanks!!!
... because I have the HJE120? I can't review what I don't have Mind sending me a pair of HJE355 for review?
Seriously though, I will probably go through my fat bag of cheapos first before considering to buy new phones just to review them
Added the long-awaited Philips SHE3580
(C3) Philips SHE3580
(found a nice image online that shows the buds, the plug and the packaging; what's not to like? Okay the real thing is not as pretty as this of course)
Details: The original "little IEM that could" that drew me back to head-fi
Currently available at: ~$10 (also available in different colours as SHE3581 (white), 3582 (light blue), 3583 (pink), 3584 (purple), and 3585 (red)
Impedance: (higher is better) 16ohm
Minimum volume setting required from Fiio E17 (lower is better): without EQ: 21/60 with EQ: 23/60
Cable: Y-split 80s spaghetti cable with i-plug, length down to trouser pocket
Nozzle Size (widest part of tip): 5.5mm | Preferred tips: stock medium tips
Wear Style: Straight down or over ear (slight assymetry makes straight down the designed wear style; over ear still very possible)
Accessories (1/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), no chin slider or shirt clip
Build Quality (2.5/5) – All plastic construction with the cheap looking 80s style cable similar to Panasonic HJE120; however the cable is nicer looking and less spaghetti-like (if prone to retain a kink from the packaging); modern-looking (if less strain reliefed) i-plug; small strain relief at housing, which pretty (IMO) plastic teardrops with slightly angled nozzles, which make insertion easier. Build quality has taken a drop in the successor 3590 series, with less polished housing and all around more shoddy looking housings, although they still sound the same. They have in turn been succeeded by the new 3500 series, which looks to have better build and packaging (but I can't vouch for this as I haven't bought a pair)
Isolation (3/5) – Shallow seal and light build contribute to lack of isolation; on the other hand there is minimal venting. Users have noted that these seem to block high frequency noises less well than mid frequencies
Microphonics (?) Others have complained of bad microphonics; all I can say to that is that these days I use a shirt clip with every IEM
Comfort (4.5/5) – Light and small housing, medium sized nozzles and well-designed (if hard to put on) ear sleeves make for a very comfortable seal. These have a medium-short nozzle for shallow insertion but the stock ear sleeves are longer than average while soft and supple (but not so soft as to lose shape when you're trying to put them on); makes for a secure fit (for me).
Sound without EQ: (8.5/10) (expect to see some low scores even from many $200+ heavyweights here; I am not tolerant of sound not matching my sound sig preference here. That's for sound *with* EQ)
These phones have an exciting V-shaped frequency response, with equal emphasis on the bass and treble. The sound is very engaging and will make for many positive open box impressions (if the unruly wires on open box don't put you off). Aside from the Etymotic MC2/3/5, these are the only phones I've heard where I can enjoy the unEQed sound; so much so, that when I turn the EQ on and off for review, these are the only phones that make me question whether I'm actually making an improvement with the EQ, and resort to impressionistic tweaking of the EQ to try to overtake the sound stock. The bass is very clean yet sharp and hard-hitting, with little bass bleed into the mids. Treble sparkle gives a very "hi-fi" feeling to the sound. Parametric EQ improves clarity and intelligibility but this is not apparent without A/B switching; the raw sound gives a great "impression" of clarity. Sibilance can be annoying with the wrong recordings (but this is almost always the case with any decent amount of treble energy without EQ at this price point; there is simply no budget available to smooth out treble resonance spikes in the acoustic design. Even with high-end phones, any slight deviation from the designed tips and insertion depth would throw off the sonic design and bring the resonances right back out. A prime example for me is the Etymotic MC2/3/5 with its 7.35kHz spike that makes tissy recordings an ear-stabbing mess without EQ; that was NOT part of the design.)
(astute readers will notice that the V-shape is shallower than my previously widely posted curve for these phones. On re-listening to these phones with my current setup and current rotation of review songs I found my old profile for these phones (EQing down the bass and treble spikes by the amount shown in my previous graphs) made for a dull sound next to the unEQed sound; these Philips are the only phones that make me question my EQ for them on a semi-regular basis...)
Linear bass boost peaking at 100Hz and below
Peak at 2950Hz (listener and seal independent)
Resonance peaks at 5200Hz, 7750Hz and 11kHz (listener and seal dependent)
Sound with EQ: (18/20)
The above writing for sound with no EQ may make it seem like there's little improvement to be had with EQ. On the contrary; the sexy V-shape of the 3580 made me question the overall bass/mids/treble balance of my old sharp A-shaped EQ for these; but it was never in doubt that taming the treble resonance spikes with EQ improves these phones by leaps and bounds technically. A thick veil of treble noise is lifted from the sound; this makes the phones go from giving an impression of Hi-Fi to true Hi-Fi. Whereas a busy passage in a studio recording sounds like the crowd talking in a noisy restaurant without EQ, with EQ it's almost like you can decompose the recording into the original multitrack and pick out any individual instrument from the mix. Soundstaging also becomes more concrete and spacious, especially with a bump around 2kHz on many phones giving extra presence to vocals.
The above observations are common across all the budget phones reviewed here and to a lesser extent the Ety MC2/3/5 (since it only has one audible resonance). So what sets these apart? The bass and timbre. Like the HJE120, these are shallow insertion IEMs, giving more visceral impact to the bass (I can feel my brain matter compressing...). Unlike the HJE120, these achieve the same bass with smaller drivers, making for less distortion at high frequencies. There is none of that metallic taste to the treble with EQ. It is still not quite as clean as the MC2/3/5 but the residual sound reflections can sometimes give an extra sense of space to studio recordings.
Standard disclaimer: sound with EQ of course changes with the EQ used. Despite the use of tone sweeps and the equal loudness filter standardizing much of the EQ process (and the resulting FR charts), it is still possible to get better sound with further fine tuning of the EQ to real music. The score with EQ is affected by how well I've profiled the EQ for a particular pair of phones. Still I find it worthwhile to dedicate a section of each review to EQ because phones always sound so much better with EQ (reason).
Value (no EQ available): 9/10
Value (with 10-band graphic EQ): 9/10
Value (with parametric EQ): 10/10
Pros: awesome unEQed sound (for a V-shaped phone); responds well to EQ
Cons: cheap and (apparently) microphonic cable
I don't know if you have the she3580 but if you do can you do a quick comparison between them and the RP-HJE355?
I know you want to get through the ones you already have BUT.
since you did a review on the shures,
might I suggest you review these craze-ey Sony mh1c's???
might I suggest you do a chart summary of your value ratings (non-eq rating, eq 10-band rating, eq parametric rating, and price) with links that direct to the full review of each product?
I think that's kind of the point, though, to restrict output so that no matter what, an iPod or whatever won't be able to produce dB(A) levels damaging to the human hearing system (>85)...
I want more volume latitude mainly for EQ (which needs to be cut only, which means that when you do a bass boost, you're cutting everything apart from the bass.
Believe me, I listen to my music plenty quiet enough.
Introduced my wife to the head-fi hobby and she promptly appropriated my MC3 <- phone-less but happy smiley
I'll be away from home for a few more days...