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Westone 4R, Phonak PFE 232 or UE 900 - Page 2

post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip N' Burn View Post

I've got all 3. My choice is the PFE232

Can you tell why in detail? :-)  I'm really curious.  Is this mid area better with the 4r and the treble with the pfe232 like most say?  I feel the mid of the pfe sounds excellent and high quality but "thin" with some instruments.  What do you find?

post #17 of 39

It's based on personal preference. To be more accurate, I prefer the PFE232 with grey filters. The grey filters enhance the midrange and offer the best balance compared with the black and green filters.

 

The W4 has a warmer more forward sounding midrange whereas the PFE232 and UE900 sound more neutral. The midrange of the PFE232 has a unique blend of smoothness and clarity which the others don't offer.

 

The highs are done very well but there are some peaks which I have noticed with a small amount of albums. In particular, Metallica's self-titled album, the highs sound too bright with the PFE232, sounds recessed with the W4, more controlled with the UE900. However, with most albums, the PFE232 renders the highs better than the others.

 

The bass is unique with the PFE232. It is the closest I've heard to the bass that a dynamic driver produces. It has body and weight while being able to keep up with fast transitions. I also like the bass that the W4 and UE900 produces but I prefer the PFE232's bass because of my liking for dynamic driver produced bass.

post #18 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip N' Burn View Post

It's based on personal preference. To be more accurate, I prefer the PFE232 with grey filters. The grey filters enhance the midrange and offer the best balance compared with the black and green filters.

 

The W4 has a warmer more forward sounding midrange whereas the PFE232 and UE900 sound more neutral. The midrange of the PFE232 has a unique blend of smoothness and clarity which the others don't offer.

 

The highs are done very well but there are some peaks which I have noticed with a small amount of albums. In particular, Metallica's self-titled album, the highs sound too bright with the PFE232, sounds recessed with the W4, more controlled with the UE900. However, with most albums, the PFE232 renders the highs better than the others.

 

The bass is unique with the PFE232. It is the closest I've heard to the bass that a dynamic driver produces. It has body and weight while being able to keep up with fast transitions. I also like the bass that the W4 and UE900 produces but I prefer the PFE232's bass because of my liking for dynamic driver produced bass.

My issue with the PFE232 was the highs were too bright and my issue with the W4 was the highs were too recessed (other than that the W4 was perfect). Would you say the UE900 highs are in between? How does the bass of the UE900 compare to the W4?

post #19 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by moshen View Post

My issue with the PFE232 was the highs were too bright and my issue with the W4 was the highs were too recessed (other than that the W4 was perfect). Would you say the UE900 highs are in between? How does the bass of the UE900 compare to the W4?

 

UE 900s are lower than W4 in memory (the last time I compared them).  I can get a more complete comparison Friday when I get home.  I've also heard that a deep insertion with the PFE232 helps the highs up a bit (this is what I do by default).  

post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post

 

UE 900s are lower than W4 in memory (the last time I compared them).  I can get a more complete comparison Friday when I get home.  I've also heard that a deep insertion with the PFE232 helps the highs up a bit (this is what I do by default).  

Yeah, i can't even listen to them without deep insertion, because i get too much treble presence and sibilance.  Inserted deeply no problem at all.

post #21 of 39

W4s with SM3 double-flange tips(large tip opening is the difference) really brighten up significantly if that is what you are after.

post #22 of 39

Had the PFE 232, SM3, W4 Shure SE 530 and others... and for the styles you listen to, I'll go with the Heir Audio 4Ai...Without esitation... Very good SQ, Best built quality never seen on an Universal and excellent service. Later, you also can upgrade your 4Ai into a 4A, the CIEM model of the 4Ai....

 

You also have the new earsonics sm 64 but not a lot of feedback yet...


Edited by sly_in_the_sky - 1/18/13 at 6:52am
post #23 of 39

Listening to the 4R now.  Man, why do these things have to be so close?  My first impression is that the pfe definitely "extends" further into the treble.  But at the same time, the 4R treble is excellent.  Almost a little soft, but all the details and frequencies are still there.  I am using the stock foam tips, so the silicone might brighten things up a tad.  Overall the 4R sound a little more "flat" to me, which is nice.  The pfe has more micro details that you hear easily.  Don't mistake that for the 4R lacking micro details, but again, with the treble a little soft for lack of better words, the details are simply more, well, flat.  So they don't "stand out".  But I think they're all there.

 

I'll give them a good listen for a while and report back.  I can say this though.  They are both incredible.  I think they are at the very top of universals from what I've heard so far.

post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post

 

The 4R is not neutral (without modification).  They can handle classical better than the PFE can with any filter setup.  

What filter is this are we talking about ?

post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnSantana View Post

What filter is this are we talking about ?
The three kinds of filter that comes with PFE232, used for tweaking its sound sig to some extent.
Edited by Deadlovestory - 1/22/13 at 5:02pm
post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnSantana View Post

What filter is this are we talking about ?

 

As stated above, the Phonak IEMs are compatible with 3 filters (232 comes with all three, 1xx comes with 2 grey and black, 0xx comes with 1 green).  The grey filters have a larger midrange focus, the black has a bass and treble focus, the green have a bass focus.  It's used to tweak the sound a bit.  

post #27 of 39

I can say now with 100% certainty that I regret buying an ipod touch 5th gen.  In every single headphone comparison and every single listening session I find it less than enjoyable sound quality.  I was thinking it would be nice if the westone 4r had a little more treble micro details.  With my ipod classic it does.  Same files, same bitrate, same everything.  Classic wins every time.  Touch sounds boomier and muffled by comparison.  The difference is probably very small, but it takes away enough depth and crispness that I always feel something is missing from the touch.  I don't think I'm going to "touch" it ever again soon. :-P

post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by luisdent View Post

I can say now with 100% certainty that I regret buying an ipod touch 5th gen.  In every single headphone comparison and every single listening session I find it less than enjoyable sound quality.  I was thinking it would be nice if the westone 4r had a little more treble micro details.  With my ipod classic it does.  Same files, same bitrate, same everything.  Classic wins every time.  Touch sounds boomier and muffled by comparison.  The difference is probably very small, but it takes away enough depth and crispness that I always feel something is missing from the touch.  I don't think I'm going to "touch" it ever again soon. :-P

 

The Westone W4(R) responds well to resistance or output impedance.  The iPod Touch 5G has one of the lowest output impedances of DACs.  This accounts for everything you are hearing.  In essence, although the 5th generation Touch may be worse with the W4, it is generally more flexible to the true nature of most (if not all) headphones.  

post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post

 

The Westone W4(R) responds well to resistance or output impedance.  The iPod Touch 5G has one of the lowest output impedances of DACs.  This accounts for everything you are hearing.  In essence, although the 5th generation Touch may be worse with the W4, it is generally more flexible to the true nature of most (if not all) headphones.  

 

So you think the touch is "higher" quality?  I know from experience with all these headphones that impedance is definitely important on the device output.  I even talked with someone from one of the major IEM companies who is an engineer.  He said it will have an enormous effect on the headphone's sound signature.  He asked not to be named for certain reasons, but he gave some technical reasons as well.  Needless to say, in other posts where I've mentioned the impedance of my duet causing problems, he said that was indeed a problem having a 32ohm output and the IEMs.

 

So, here's the odd part.  My duet and ipod classic sound identical as far as I can tell with the 4R.  And they aren't even far from the touch.  But the touch sounds like an mp3 compared to lossless to me.  I put lossless files on it, because I though maybe the 4R was actually revealing the differences between the aac files I had on the touch.  It was not the file format.  The lossless on the touch sounded like a compressed file in that all the super micro details were lost.  There is no "noticeable" change in the overall frequency curve.  In other words, the touch doesn't sound like the treble is rolled off or anything, but instead just missing the micro details that add to the depth of a songs environment.  The bass is also more 'boomy' sounding.

 

It's hard to explain perfectly, but I've tried a lot of headphones on all three devices and they all had different frequency curves on each device, but usually the duet show the most variance, while the classic and touch were very close to the same.  In this case they all sound very close to the same, but the touch has the flaws.  If this is an impedance issue, then something is odd, because they sound better on the other two devices.  And when I say better, I don't mean that I prefer the frequency response, but rather the "quality" is better.  The bass is tighter and more accurate, the micro details are there, the overall song sounds more 'flat' and 'reference' in quality, while retaining the same frequency signature almost identically.

 

I would pass it off as impedance, but it seems odd that so many different headphones sounded worse on the touch compared to the classic.  In some cases the duet threw some frequency range way off, but that was to be expected based on the impedance and charts showing the effects of higher impedance on the specific headphones.  However, even in headphones that showed no change on an impedance graph, such as some dynamic drivers I have, I hear the same differences in micro detail loss and boomy bass.  I have a feeling "something" in the touch is lower quality.  Perhaps the frequencies are most accurate due to the low impedance, but there must be some other shortcoming somewhere?  No?

 

I also find that the touch is more fatiguing at higher volumes than my classic.  Things start to become less distinct and detailed when they're louder.  This is almost more noticeable than the micro detail loss.  Has anyone else here compared the 5th gen touch to the classic?


Edited by luisdent - 1/22/13 at 9:59pm
post #30 of 39

I ended up returning the W4r because there wasn't enough treble energy and returned the PFE-232 because there was too much (too V shaped in FR for me). The tiple.fi 10 is about perfect, slight V shape and good treble sparkle. But it's clear the TF10 doesn't have the same clarity and detail as the other two IEMs.

 

I heard you can extend the treble on the W4r if you used bigger bore tips. I would have done that if I still had my W4r, other than too recessed treble it was really good.

 

http://rinchoi.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-effect-of-ear-sleeves-westone-4.html

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