Originally Posted by woodcans
@music: Do the 3003's have that level of micro detail, speed & timing that make you feel like you are in the recording studio, like the Kaede seems to do?
Okay, first I need to point out again that I really dislike A/B'ing gear. Also, I haven't listened to my HD800s for about 3 weeks due to a trip I made recently; and then the very hot weather we've been having lately in my neck of the woods. During my trip I only listened to my FI-BA-SS and only during the plane & tube journeys but nothing at all during my the quiet times I had (had taken my K3003s for that purpose but they got no ear-time at all in the end). Back home it's been mostly my 160Xs. Why mention all of this? Because our auditory memory isn't always as reliable as we'd like to think and both the HD800s & K3003s are sonically very closely related (as I and others have mentioned already a couple of times).
Anyway, took out my K3003s today for about 10 mins (after reading your post) to get a fresh new feel for them. I won't really talk about speed or time (what do you mean by "time", BTW?) in relation to the Kaedes, but will do a comparison later and report back.
So, a few very brief differences between the Kaedes & K3003s:
--- The K3003s, like the HD800s are a very revealing phone, so micro-details should not be an issue at all.
--- I wasn't wrong when I said the midrange was somewhat recessed on the F4s (wasn't 100% sure when I said so earlier because of my recent constant use of the [very] mid-forward 160Xs). The K3003's mids are a clear step above the Kaede's midrange, as they sound fuller, more detailed and crystal clear (though I wouldn't call them lush, a la 334's).
--- The top end, again, is more refined, with a thicker note and a very realistic timbre. In comparison, the Kaede's treble may even seem a tad grainy, even when there's more air to it higher up. I believe the type of the BA drivers used by AKG here, and the tuning of these, account for the differences in the mid & upper frequencies.
--- In the low-end department, the Kaede's may have the slight upper hand in texture (just like the EX1000's bass sometimes did), but not necessarily in extension — certainly the slight dip in the Kaede's midrange allows the bass on these phones to shine. I haven't compared bass (speed) directly, but my guess is that the Kaede's may be a tad more proficient in that area (perhaps two DDs and the Kaede's own technology achieve this). However, I've never personally had bass (speed) issues with the AKGs — on busy passages they keep up excellently, but I have to say that in my music library I have no speed metal, for instance, recordings, BTW, that normally leave a lot to be desired. However, busy classical orchestral passages are rendered wonderfully, as well as, FWIW, the four Tool albums I have.
--- The K3003's soundstage is very impressive, too, and though perhaps slightly less enveloping than the Kaede's, it is also most definitely very headphone-like.
--- One very important aspect of the K3003s, and one that a couple of K3003 owners have found to be one of the AKG's strong suits—this was first brought to light by james444 just over 1.5 years ago, BTW—is just how remarkably well the AKGs perform at low volumes (never heard an IEM that has come close to this particular aspect of the K3003s). The Kaede's need a bit more juice / volume to become the very exciting / fun phone that they are.
--- As for a recording studio sound, I find both the HD800s & K3003s to be closer to being in a studio than the Kaedes. In that sense both the HD800s & AKGs are definitely more reference sounding, though never boring or clinical (at least for me). Dynamic range, on the whole, is a step up on the AKGs.
--- I believe the K3003's solid stainless steel housings (made of a single piece of steel [read: no seams] may account for part of it's excellent and very clean sound, BTW; this clean sound is another aspect I highly value on this IEM.
--- I'll say this again, though — to me the Kaedes are a very fun-sounding phone, but definitely a high-quality fun sound, ie there's real texture, unexpectedly brilliant layering, extension and, on the whole, excellent timbre, but, as a sonic package, the K3003s, to these ears, are a step up. BUT, just like with almost any phone, I can see some people preferring the Kaedes over the AKGs, just like I've seen a couple of people preferring the IE800s over the K3003s.
Originally Posted by spkrs01
Originally Posted by music_4321
I would be very interested if you share your thoughts of the Kaede and the FI-BA-SS.
Please give me a day or two and I'll get back to you on that one.