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REVIEW: Sennheiser CX 985 - Page 2

post #16 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishcabible View Post

Posted my review here: http://www.head-fi.org/products/sennheiser-cx-985/reviews/7796

The Headfonics one with pretty pictures should be up by tomorrow. I like these.

Great review! I agree with many of your points. And good to see that I'm not the only one who thinks these are enjoyable with classical music.

Please feel free to post the link to your Headfonics review when it goes up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JosephKim View Post

Nice review! And Im glad you dont give out scores.. I think its ridiculous that some reviewers can review so many IEMs and think there is value in giving scores

Well, to be honest, I just don't have the extensive experience to give out scores. redface.gif
But I personally think sound quality scores have a tendency to distract from the importance of finding a sound signature that works for one's ears and genre preferences (if any). To me, the value ratings that many reviewers give out make more sense, but that too is dependent on a person's preferences and interpretations of sound signature, presentation, comfort, build quality, etc.
post #17 of 35

Thanls for this review. I am thinking of trying the CX985 for classical. I really like the CX300 for classical for the price, but it isnt the last word on detail or bass control. It would be good to think this might be the ultimate evolution thus far of the CX series and stays true to the particular sound signature of that range, but with more refinement as you go up the line.

post #18 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I wish I could compare the two in-depth for you, but unfortunately I had to return the CX985 as they were a loaner from Sennheiser. However, I liked them quite a bit and will be purchasing my own pair in the near future.
post #19 of 35

Here are my thoughts on design/build. These came nicely packaged, accessories; all that jazz you read in the review.  The mostly metal construction is sturdy but the angled stem (metal strain relief) design creates (IMO) an unnecessary stress point.  In all my years of owning IEMs, I have stepped on mine more than once (stumbling around in my room).  Do the same at the wrong angle with the CX 985, and you're likely to break it.  

 

[To be fair, stepping on IEMs does not constitute "careful" IEM use, but I'm here to report from my personal end user perspective.]

 

Moving on, all the metal used on this IEM is good for aesthetics, but a little functionally misguided.  The housing is metal, the plug is metal (all okay at this point), but the aforementioned strain relief is also metal.  (Why?)  I'll just refer to it as the metal stem since I don't know what to call it.  Sure it has a great feel, but it creates unnecessary weight/drag in the wrong direction.  This drag doesn't actually pull the IEMs out out of your ears, the weight is too miniscule for that, but it constantly "coaxes" it in that direction, and given the slightest tug they do come out.  I would be willing to look this design choice over IF the IEM sat inside the cavum of the ear like the UM3X, RE262, or SM3 do.  These do not.  They sit in the ear solely based on the tension the tip creates against the ear's auditory canal, so subtleties like this have mattered.

 

Moving on to the sound, these are decently balanced with an adequate amount of detail retrieval, pretty smooth.  Some frequency anomalies were detected, at times the bass would be a bit too prominent, once in a while a little hot up top.  Over all not a bad listen, but nothing to get too excited over.  With respect to design & future IEMs, sometimes less is more and sometimes more is less.  Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to listen to these.

post #20 of 35
Thread Starter 
I appreciate the candor of your remarks, sphinx, even though I don't necessarily agree with some of the points presented. The reason I am not the biggest fan of appreciation threads is because they do not allow for the discussion, such as yours, of the shortcomings of headphones and IEMs, which result in manufacturers becoming complacent and stagnant in their craft.

I see that you own the UM3X, a ~$400 high-end IEM. Were some of your comments of the CX985's sound in (indirect) comparison to that earphone, or perhaps derived from your experiences with top-of-the-line headphones such as the HD800 and LCD-2? Or was the sound signature just not agreeable (not neutral enough)? I don't mean to interrogate (if it's coming across that way tongue.gif ), but just want to know what to expect from more expensive headphones should I head towards that direction in the future.
post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjk1281 View Post

I appreciate the candor of your remarks, sphinx, even though I don't necessarily agree with some of the points presented. The reason I am not the biggest fan of appreciation threads is because they do not allow for the discussion, such as yours, of the shortcomings of headphones and IEMs, which result in manufacturers becoming complacent and stagnant in their craft.
I see that you own the UM3X, a ~$400 high-end IEM. Were some of your comments of the CX985's sound in (indirect) comparison to that earphone, or perhaps derived from your experiences with top-of-the-line headphones such as the HD800 and LCD-2? Or was the sound signature just not agreeable (not neutral enough)? I don't mean to interrogate (if it's coming across that way tongue.gif ), but just want to know what to expect from more expensive headphones should I head towards that direction in the future.

 

Kjk, yes I compared them to the UM3X as well as the B2 (DBA-02 clone) which I have owned for a long time (no longer do).  Also in house were a pair of Stax IEMs (SR-003 + 252S energizer).  My expectations are based on those, plus the sum of my experiences with all my phones, including the top full size phones.  

 

However, when listening to the CX 985, I mostly had the Brainwavz B2 in mind, which is the only sub-$200 IEM I hold in really high regard for how hard it punches despite it's weight class.  As others have noted, the B2 can sometimes be as much of a detail monster as say, a UERM is.  It might fall short in ambiance or spatial detail retrieval, but in straight extraction it comes close.  So with the B2 in mind, the RE-ZERO, which I also like, and the UM3X (don't let the price fool you, diminishing returns kicks in here for universal IEMs), I formed my opinion of the CX 985.

 

Mine were mostly ergonomic grievances with the CX 985, and to add to it, I did not find it an over-achiever sonically as I did the B2 for sub $200 or ZERO for sub $100.  That said, it's probably not an underachiever either in this price range.  I just don't have any experience with what's "par for the course" at this price range.

 

--

 

Also, kudos to Sennheiser for letting us head-fi-ers listen to it and share our opinions.  I'm sure there are others out there that will enjoy this IEM.

post #22 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thanks again sphinx. The CX985 certainly wasn't tuned to be analytical, so I can see how they could fall short. I didn't get that sense when I compared them to the Etymotic HF3, however. I regard the HF3 as one that punches above its weight class, and I didn't find the CX all that lacking in the detail department. The HF3s were more linear in frequency response and more accurate, but the Sennheisers were more musical, which I feel is an important factor in looking for a good listening headphone. I don't always feel like I need to analyze the music.

As for ergonomic issues and diminishing returns, I once owned the Triple Fi. cool.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinxvc View Post

Also, kudos to Sennheiser for letting us head-fi-ers listen to it and share our opinions.  I'm sure there are others out there that will enjoy this IEM.

Agreed. I hope Sennheiser continues to send out review samples to Head-Fiers. I've once ranted about Sennheiser giving samples out to the Amazon Vine program but not to us, and I like to think somebody at Sennheiser listened. biggrin.gif

Of course, we won't always be as nice to them as Amazon reviewers can be. evil_smiley.gif
post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjk1281 View Post

As for ergonomic issues and diminishing returns, I once owned the Triple Fi. cool.gif

 

Oh man, don't even get me started on that one.  

post #24 of 35
As a current CX980 owner, I'm rather interested in the CX985, wondering whether it's just a rehash or not, because it looks virtually the same on the outside. The CX985 plug looks cheaper than the CX980s... no photo of the plug in both positions?

Let me tell you why the CX980 didn't do so well. It's because Sennheiser crippled the thing with those diaphragm guards. Every lukewarm review out there listened to it like this; the diaphragm guards ended up muffling the midrange, making the CX980 sound like a bloated bassy mess. With the diaphragm guards off and the foam inserts in, the CX980 sounds wonderful; even better than the IE8. However, the other two tips (white and pink) end up being less usable because with there is a 4khz spike with those. There is no such spike with the foam inserts.

It's a shame this review didn't cover sound quality with the diaphragm guards off, because I'll bet anything that the CX985, like the CX980, sounds better without them.
Edited by colgatetotal - 12/12/12 at 10:27am
post #25 of 35

I had the CX870 and have the CX985. I agree that the CX985 is the second best behind the IE800 and better than the IE7 and IE8 etc. The guards seemingly were changed but the sound slightly as well if we are to believe what Senn says. Some of both I'd say. I am quite treble tolerant but think the 985 is a bit harsh without the new guards in and they don't layer out as well and are more 2-D with them out. So, to recap, old guards is the worst sound in the 985, then the sound with no guards, then the sound with the new guards is the best. The stock tips are not the best and probably should be changed. Nothing new with Senn on that front. The driver need a good amount of hours till the treble tames. 

post #26 of 35
Aren't the diaphragm guards just pieces of black foam? Unless the foam density was changed, I don't see how the ones on the CX985 could be any different than the ones on the CX980.

I took my white/pink tips out from the closet after a year of using the memory foam tips in order to re-evaluate them. Inserting the diaphragm guards still destroy the sound quality. The white/pink tips with the diaphragm guards off are also unlistenable; that 4khz treble spike is way too much. Memory foam + diaphragm guards off is still the way to go on the CX980, so hopefully you chime in on how good that combo is on the CX985.
Edited by colgatetotal - 12/16/12 at 11:23am
post #27 of 35

Yes they have changed. You can easily see through the new ones since they are less dense. I use nothing but Grado iGi black bi-flanges. All stock tips either give V-shape sound and more bass than I want. Foams may just cure treble spikes but I don't do foams of any kind anymore. Keeping my 985 tips including foams new for resale value and I have packaged and sold off any other foams I may have had including Hearos for making my own. I knew from the CX870 that the tips were no good out of the box. Senn competes against themselves so they hamper the CX980/985 so as to slot below more expensive models but easy to see what they are doing and try to fix it. A little too sealed up vs. other models adding thickness hurting precision, detail, and even balance.

post #28 of 35

Hi guys, 

 

Thought of sharing the following link. It's another review of the CX 985, by mark2410 - http://www.head-fi.org/t/640943/sennheiser-cx985-review

post #29 of 35

very good review! super detailed

 

i wish i could have the chance to try these (even loan them)

post #30 of 35
Piease help me, I very much like sennheiser cx985 and I want to know can I properly use this headphone with my sony xperia acro s and nokia n8. Plz help me, thanks in advance
Edited by Ahmad313 - 1/27/13 at 2:47am
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