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Multi-IEM comparison: Vsonic GR07, Ultimate Ears UE700, TDK BA200, Etymotic Research HF5 and... - Page 2

post #16 of 178
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

 

So are the Etys. However, I don't believe you can replicate that live feeling without a healthy bass response. The HF5 (and presumably the PFE) has good punch, but no growl, rumble, or moan in the bass. 

 

I guess I'll really have to hunt down an EX1000


Indeed, although I forgot about the black filters.  They make the overall tone more like the ba200.  The bass is fairly capable but just relatively low level. 


Edited by luisdent - 12/3/12 at 5:09pm
post #17 of 178

I have a feeling you'll like the ortofon e-Q5 a lot since you seem to like airiness.

 

 

I personally think the hf5 (with the white triflange) is more detailed across the frequency range, clearer, and has better instrument separation than the Phonak (amped) due to its forward character, save for the Ety's rolled off highs. Phonak's soundstage is also not as wide as the GR07's and imaging is not better than the BA200. Somehow, I also dislike the Phonak relatively thin body (emphasis on the relative), despite it being a balanced IEM overall, and will take the other three over it.


Edited by glac1er - 12/3/12 at 4:45pm
post #18 of 178
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by glac1er View Post

I have a feeling you'll like the ortofon e-Q5 a lot since you seem to like airiness.

 

 

I personally think the hf5 (with the white triflange) is more detailed across the frequency range, clearer, and has better instrument separation than the Phonak (amped) due to its forward character, save for the Ety's rolled off highs. Phonak's soundstage is also not as wide as the GR07's and imaging is not better than the BA200. Somehow, I also dislike the Phonak relatively thin body (emphasis on the relative), despite it being a balanced IEM overall, and will take the other three over it.

I agree on the thin body.  I've spent the last few hours listening to song by song between the phonak and tdk.  I'm starting to prefer the tdk for its more full bodied sound, despite the lack of the highest highs.  I'm not sure about the gr07 imaging.  I'll have to give that some more listening, but i felt the phonak had much better separation and soundtage, but then again, what are you referring to by soundstage?  I view it as a mix of the overall depth and quality of separation and 3d-ness.  Almost literally the shape/size/type of the stage the music is part of.

 

With that said, I find them different.  The phonak to me was distinct and clear and 3d, the gr07 was more colored sounding which ruined the believability of the soundstage being as 'realistic'.  However, the better frequency extension at the low end makes up for some of that almost making them equal but different...

post #19 of 178
Thread Starter 

I'm starting to hear things differently with these two sets.  Is it really that I'm just getting used to them, or do they actually have burn-in?  It seems like the ba200 is getting bassier...
 

post #20 of 178
Quote:

Originally Posted by luisdent View Post

 

i'd say the tdk are the most comfortable.  they just disappear in my ears...  i'm not even using either pair over the ears yet...

 

How do you find the comfort of the BA200 compared to the PFE 112 when worn over the ears, specifically the area where the flat cable wraps over the ears? From pictures it looks like the flat cable would cause some discomfort but I'm not sure if it's worse than it looks.


Edited by PeterDLai - 12/6/12 at 1:18pm
post #21 of 178
Are you still taking song requests? I would be interested in hearing your opinion as to how the IEM's perform on these two songs: Nicola Roberts - Beat of My Drum Cheryl Cole - Rain on Me Thanks!
post #22 of 178
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterDLai View Post

 

How do you find the comfort of the BA200 compared to the PFE 112 when worn over the ears, specifically the area where the flat cable wraps over the ears? From pictures it looks like the flat cable would cause some discomfort but I'm not sure if it's worse than it looks.


I find the PFE more comfortable than the ba200, but they are both comfortable.  I do feel the flat cord on my ears, because sometime they don't lay flat after being rolled up in their case.  They don't hurt or anything, but I would consider myself sensitive to things like that.  It may be my ears as well, but none of the earpieces fit perfectly comfort wise with the ba200.  They fit perfectly sound wise and make a seal and sound great, but I think it is just the tri-flange design.  This might be why the Etymotics didn't work for me at all either, having the same style.  I think my ears have too much variation in the shape of the canal or something.  They actually poke me and it can feel like a sharp tip inside my ear.  (any triflange not just the ba200).

 

The ba200 still feel decent in the ear, and you forget they are in after a minute, but the cable i usually don't forget about.  I would probably buy the little ear guides that come with other headphones like the pfe if I were keeping the ba200.  I think they would work well in the gr07 ear guides, but they don't fit the thinner pfe guides.  I can't say how well the flat cable would work in them long term though, as I haven't tried it, but they do technically fit all the way in the gr07 guides.  Although, I don't think most people would even think about the cable as much as me, but who knows...

 

The pfe on the other hand, seal 'perfectly' in my ear.  They block about 24-26db of noise based on the comparison to my earplugs.  The shape is more ergonomic, as they don't sit in your entire earlobe area like the ba200.  Instead they sort of aim upward and forward away from your earlobe, so they don't touch anything really around your ear.  The guides and headphones are so light they simply disappear and I forget I'm wearing them.

 

The ba200 cable is also a little heavier because of the circuit/whatever in the middle and also there is weight from the adapter section that connects to the extension, as they don't come with full length cables.  The cable without the extension is maybe a foot and a half or so.

 

So I would call the pfe extremely comfortable and the ba200 comfortable to very comfortable. :-P


Edited by luisdent - 12/6/12 at 1:41pm
post #23 of 178
Thread Starter 

You can see hot the tdk fits nicely but with my ears personally they contact the back inner lobe a bit.  Not uncomfortable, but it's contact.

 

1000

 

The cable with the TDK curls as seen right below the ears.  Sometimes that curl happens around the ear.

 

1000

 

TDK in the gr07 guide.

 

1000

 

You see the front of the cable pops out of the guide, but you might be able to rotate the tdk more or force it in the guide and rotate the cable or something, but that is the most natural fit for me at that angle.

 

1000

 

You can see the audeo contacts less in the lobe, and although it looks like it is pressing the top of my ear, I don't feel anything there.  It might have been the way i took the photo, but i really only feel the earplug tip in my ear, which is the same as all tips.

 

1000

 

The thinner cable is light and smooth, so it's easy to forget.

 

1000

 

The guide is thinner and lighter as well, so doesn't add any weight really and is also smooth all around.

 

1000

 

It looks like it even accommodates larger ears in the back, but luckily the shape still feels smooth all around my ear.

 

1000

 

This is actually pretty impressive.  If you look carefull, the shape of the pfe curves with the ear shape as it approaches your upper lobe.  I wonder how many people that works well with?  Seems like a good ergo design. 


Edited by luisdent - 12/6/12 at 3:20pm
post #24 of 178
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by murano View Post

Are you still taking song requests? I would be interested in hearing your opinion as to how the IEM's perform on these two songs: Nicola Roberts - Beat of My Drum Cheryl Cole - Rain on Me Thanks!

 

Listening now...

 

...

 

The results for Bear of My Drum were pretty much what I expected.  The ba200 gives a decent all around smoothness and quality, enough bass, but not really "a lot of bass".  A little muffled on this song though almost more than normal for some reason.  It seems like all the high instruments sit in a fairly narrow range in this song (nothing wrong with that), which seems more masked on the ba200.  This is only relatively speaking of course.  It still sounds good overall.

 

The pfe sounds the best in terms of soundstage and details.  The instruments and super easy to distinguish and pick out from each other.  There is also some sub bass that sounds good.  A tad lower than the ba200 but very smooth clear sub bass, the big thing lacking is mid bass.  So the bass doesn't sound very "full".  So it gives it a lopsided v shape leaning towards treble.

 

I'd say gr07 wins in this song.  The mid bass really adds roundness to this song and a lot of the dynamics of the song lie in the simultaneous kick drum/bass hits, which these make more apparent and powerful.  The highs are second after the pfe above the ba200.  They have better soundstage and detail than the ba200 as well bring out certain instruments better.  Overall, i'd pick gr07 for this track, but if you're listening to a bunch of music styles the ba200 still does very well tied in second with the pfe 112 depending on if you want overall fullness or high clarity...


Edited by luisdent - 12/6/12 at 3:07pm
post #25 of 178
Thread Starter 

Holy poop batman.  Rain On Me brings out the bass in the pfe like i've never heard it.  Not as much as the others, but it actually really hits a lot of sub bass well.  Awesome.  As usual, the details stand out more here.  The little horn parts almost sound like there are real miniature horns in your ears. haha.  The chorus sounds great with the subass as well as all of the details.  Very nice.  Like this song too.  Never heard it.

 

This sounds great on the ba200 as well.  I think the boosted bass/treble of the song helps things stand out in these type of headphones.  The ba does have a slight sibilance, which is actually a first for these that I've heard.  Even though the details don't "stand out" as much as the pfe, they are still very good.  The bass is a bit more level, but doesn't sound as tight as the pfe, but it does extend a bit more into the midrange making it more 'full'.  I'd pass on this song because of the sibilance though.  It's not horrible, but I can't stand sibilance.

 

The gr07 have the best bass overall, not only in level but in quality.  You hear more of the bass instrument in all of the bassiness.  The details are also sibilant in the gr07 and the sibilant frequencies are the typical boosted mid/high of the set, which makes the song a little more boxy sounding here.  The bass and instrument separation are a plus, so I'd tie it with the ba200 on this one.

 

If I had to choose, I'd actually pick the pfe112 on this one, as there is no sibilance and still a decent sub bass.  If you really like the bass feeling more powerful and full I'd go with the gr07 which really brings it out, but doesn't really cover up the rest of the song much.

 

The ba200 would have been right in the middle, having the middle quality bass and details and everything else, but since it also had sibilance I'd put it last for this song.  The irony here is that the pfe has the most overall highs, but it is the most pleasing overall in the highs despite any sibilance in the recording...  Since the song has sibilance in general you can even hear it in the pfe, but the pfe doesn't bring it out at all, the other two bring the sibilance to the forefront making it hard to listen to for me.


Edited by luisdent - 12/6/12 at 3:24pm
post #26 of 178
Thread Starter 

I decided to make a comparison of the equalization necessary to make each headphone sound as flat as possible to what I consider reference.  This is not really scientific, but based on my years of recording music using studio monitor speakers and having heard a wide range of different speakers of all qualities and arrangements, it should serve to give you an idea of how far each set would need to be adjusted based on my ears.  For the record, I had a hearing test this year, and passed as one of the best results he had seen. :-) woohoo!

 

I've used a song that I know well and consider one of the best recordings for overall sound quality, realistic instrument frequencies, etc.  These adjustments would essentially make each pair almost identical in sound, although there are some properties that I simply couldn't remove from each set.  For instance, the sibilance in the gr07 wasn't affected enough by eq.  I literally could drop a band as far as it went down in db and adjust the width and sweep the whole spectrum.  Although improved, it would never really eliminate it.  Also, for the ba200, no matter how much or what frequency of highs I adjusted, I couldn't introduce the same quality of 'air' to the set as would be found in the others, but it was still improved.  I'm assuming this is simply a limit of each driver's capability to reproduce these properties...

 

I threw in my old ex85lp and the earpods just for fun.  I was surprised that the ex85lp sounded so good after adjustment.  Instrument separation and overall quality was very good.  I would honestly choose the eq'd ex85 over the gr07 because of the sibilance.  The ex85 had very good bass once tamed down.  I was also surprised at how much adjustment was needed for the earpods.  I knew they had some boost in mid-bass and treble, but they ended up being the most adjusted of the bunch.

 

With these adjustments I would put the pfe on top as none of the others could reproduce the high end the same, but the pfe did fairly well reproducing the low end.  Sorry for some of the highlighted stuff in the images. :-P

 

UPDATE:  I've added my new sony xba-3, and in general the pfe has a competitor now.  Notice that the sony has a few points of adjustment, but all are very small...

 

Apple EarPods:

1000

 

TDK BA200:

1000

 

Sony EX85LP:

1000

 

Phonak Audeo PFE 112:

1000

 

Vsonic GR07:

1000

 

Sony XBA-3:

1000


Edited by luisdent - 12/9/12 at 1:16pm
post #27 of 178
Thread Starter 

BTW, I'm listening to Dark Side of the Moon (CDP 7 46001 2 DIDX 226, Capitol Records) in the PFE112, and it sounds really incredible with no eq.
 

post #28 of 178
Thread Starter 

Oh my.  I just got my XBA-3s today.  I didn't think a BA headphone could have bass after everything I've heard so far.  These are definitely bass capable.  Overall they sound good too.  They seem a little dark but not really lacking treble.  Sort of odd.  Going to listen for a while.  Love the bass though so far.  If I had to guess immediately, I'd say the treble isn't as good as the pfe112 exactly, but let me get used to them first and I'll report back....

post #29 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by luisdent View Post

Oh my.  I just got my XBA-3s today.  I didn't think a BA headphone could have bass after everything I've heard so far.  These are definitely bass capable.  Overall they sound good too.  They seem a little dark but not really lacking treble.  Sort of odd.  Going to listen for a while.  Love the bass though so far.  If I had to guess immediately, I'd say the treble isn't as good as the pfe112 exactly, but let me get used to them first and I'll report back....

 

Nice. Look at my comparison here, and let me know if you agree. It's always great to hear different viewpoints.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/631704/double-review-etymotic-hf3-sony-xba-3-with-appearances-from-the-vsonic-gr07-mkii

post #30 of 178
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

 

Nice. Look at my comparison here, and let me know if you agree. It's always great to hear different viewpoints.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/631704/double-review-etymotic-hf3-sony-xba-3-with-appearances-from-the-vsonic-gr07-mkii


I'm still getting used to them.  They're interesting.  Right off the bat I would say they're more to my liking than any so far.  However, they still aren't perfect...  As ClieOS would say "they never will be".  ;) hehe.  I have to agree.  I'm sure there's no "perfect" IEM, however, these have the best balance of everything so far for more.  I'm just trying to establish whether I'm satisfied with the high frequency distribution.

 

They aren't as sibilant overall as the GR07, but they have better bass than most IEMs so far, so that's great.  They also breath well in the treble and have good separation and clarity.  I think they lack a little of the mid treble the PFE112 has that make them so nice and flat.  But after hearing these, I'm not sure I can live with the PFE112's incredible quality due to the simple lack of bass.  And I have to argue with myself here... The 112s have excellent bass, and in a lot of music you wouldn't even know they lack bass at all.  Dark side of the moon was so engrossing.  I listened to the whole album in bed last night and it was by far the most enjoyable listening of the album I've ever had.  But then play some instrumental piano and the lack of bass makes the piano sound less realistic and I am a pianist, so that's important.  The XBA-3 immediately solved that issue.  The bass is powerful and deep, but luckily it isn't that high in level to destroy the rest of the frequency spectrum.

 

I'll listen to those songs again in your post and compare them as I hear it.  So far I would say the XBA-3 is almost in the middle of the GR07 and PFE112 in terms of pluses and minuses.  Time will tell...

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