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post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

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Edited by ryanjsoo - 1/21/13 at 8:37pm
post #2 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanjsoo View Post

Hi, I resently purchased a set of Phonak PFE 232`s and am disappointed with their audio quality, especiially for a $600 pair of earphones. Coming from a set of Klipsch x10`s (that broke due to weak cables and splitting strain reliefs) I remember reading that the Phonaks had a similar sound signature with great bass and highs. I ordered a pair during the earphonesolutions 25% off sale and restlessly awaited their arrival only to find that the earphones were very quiet, about 30-40% quieter than my x10`s and had about half the bass quantity of the x10`s regardless of tip choice. The isolation was also poor which I found distressing as I am a frequent traveller. Are the Phonaks faulty? if not what earphones would be a good replacement, I am looking for clarity which was lacking from the x10`s, Good bass quality, a decent soundstage as well as x10 like isolation and size. Would the Etymotic er4pt`s rival the likes of Shure and Westone offerings?

So what changed in between your review and now?
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanjsoo View Post

Hi, I resently purchased a set of Phonak PFE 232`s and am disappointed with their audio quality, especiially for a $600 pair of earphones. Coming from a set of Klipsch x10`s (that broke due to weak cables and splitting strain reliefs) I remember reading that the Phonaks had a similar sound signature with great bass and highs. I ordered a pair during the earphonesolutions 25% off sale and restlessly awaited their arrival only to find that the earphones were very quiet, about 30-40% quieter than my x10`s and had about half the bass quantity of the x10`s regardless of tip choice. The isolation was also poor which I found distressing as I am a frequent traveller. Are the Phonaks faulty? if not what earphones would be a good replacement, I am looking for clarity which was lacking from the x10`s, Good bass quality, a decent soundstage as well as x10 like isolation and size. Would the Etymotic er4pt`s rival the likes of Shure and Westone offerings?

 

The Phonaks are probably not faulty.  They are not that sensitive.  That said, they are not going to be as loud.  The isolation has been talked about as well.  Can't compare bass quantity though between the Phonak and X10.  I think it's just a preference of a certain sound.  If you thought the PFE232 didn't have enough bass quantity, the ER4 is going to be quite disappointing.  

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

I made the review a few months after parting with my faulty x10`s. Klipsch recently sent me a new pair as I misplaced the receipt. Now that I have been able to compare the Phonaks and Klipsch I can pinpoint the weak points in the Phonak`s performance. I also have a new source device, a HTC One X+ which has really strange volume intervals and starts about 4 times lower than most devices which made the volume difference extremely difficult to decipher. The Phonaks aren`t bad but in my opinion aren`t as good as they should be for the price and hype leading me to beleive that they may be faulty.

post #5 of 21

That's too bad. My PFE 232 get plenty loud out of my Note 2 and the bass is fantastic. Certainly not as heavy as my IE80, but much more articulate. I will take quality over quantity every time. Are you a bass head perhaps?

 

Sounds like possibly your HTC One X+ is not playing nice, or maybe it's just a matter of finding the right fit.
 

post #6 of 21

I previously owned and loved the sound of the x10 despite their many shortcomings. Although, the Klipsch were gone before I got the PFE232, the latter surely owns the Klipsch bass wise (overall quantity, slam and extension). The Phonak isolation isn't great but above average and similar to the X10 with single flange going from memory.

Are you sure you don't suffer from a seal issue? 

post #7 of 21

Possible solutions :

 

- Try tip-rolling; I'm suspecting there might be a seal/fit issues here. Foam tips might help too. Bass is 80% about seal and isolation, so the perceived weak bass is likely due to seal/isolation issues.

 

- Try filter-changing. See which filter gives the sound you prefer most.

 

- Give some time for your brain to get used to how the PFE232 sounds; If you listen to an earphone for a short time and you immediately say you dislike it then it's your fault. If you listened to it for 2-3 weeks and you still dislike it then it's the earphone's fault.

 

- Try to specifically describe which part of the PFE232's sound that disappoints you, this might help us help you better :D

 

- Or maybe you're suffering from basshead syndrome? Because PFE's bass is not lacking in quality and quantity in my opinion, unless you're a total basshead. In that case, maybe sticking to X10 would be a good idea.


Edited by Deadlovestory - 1/20/13 at 11:13am
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies, actually one of my close relatives owns a galaxy siii with the acclaimed wolfson chip and I can confirm that the phonaks bass is neither as impactful nor abundant as the x10`s. Its not that I am a bass head because I would rather have quality over quantity, it`s just that I expected to be blown away at the bass performance going by reviews. The isolation is very poor especially on planes compared to the X10`s. I have tried all tips even shure olives but the short nozzle prevents deep insertion and thus sub par isolation, also changing the filters makes the sound quality worse if anything, the x10`s have very rolled off highs compared to the phonaks which has made the phonaks a pleasure to listen too at home where there is no background noise. However every filter except from the grey seems to reduce the twinkle and clarity making the sound seem veiled.

post #9 of 21

What filters are you using?  As for isolation, you should of known that beforehand, it was really plastered all over all the reviews that isolation was average at best (slightly below for IEMs).  

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanjsoo View Post

Thanks for the replies, actually one of my close relatives owns a galaxy siii with the acclaimed wolfson chip and I can confirm that the phonaks bass is neither as impactful nor abundant as the x10`s. Its not that I am a bass head because I would rather have quality over quantity, it`s just that I expected to be blown away at the bass performance going by reviews. The isolation is very poor especially on planes compared to the X10`s. I have tried all tips even shure olives but the short nozzle prevents deep insertion and thus sub par isolation, also changing the filters makes the sound quality worse if anything, the x10`s have very rolled off highs compared to the phonaks which has made the phonaks a pleasure to listen too at home where there is no background noise. However every filter except from the grey seems to reduce the twinkle and clarity making the sound seem veiled.

Yes you are a bass head and there's nothing wrong with that while still wanting goodness elsewhere. Maybe try something like the new JVC fxz200.

post #11 of 21

Ryan, I own the X10s and I can say that for plane travel isolation, I have yet to have any of my (limited range of) IEMs best them. For me, the X10s have superior isolation when stationary (as on a plane). Thus, I don't think it's too unusual that the 232 isn't satisfying your dead-silence craving in the air. I also note that for a single BA, the X10s have plenty of bass, with impact and rumble and what have you.

 

Given your situation, I should say I'm no expert on the PFE232, I've only heard the 112 and yes, it was closer to neutral than my collection is. I'm sure (and also I've read around the place) that the 232 is a super capable IEM with great precision and quality bass, but for some people that just doesn't do it.

I also own the Sennheiser IE80s, and let me say, I find them an upgrade from the X10s in every way except isolation, including bass quality (and quantity, if you so choose). The rumble on these things with my humble E11 amp's bass boost is more than satisfactory, and with EDM it's great. As for treble detail and resolution, as well as reproducing a 'natural' sound, you will find they do not perform up to PFE232 standard (based entirely on impressions I've read, as I don't own the 232). I still think the IE80 has a smooth, pretty detailed, non-sibilant treble and, to my ears, wonderfully rich mids like those on my Momentum, which I like.

 

At $270 from amazon.de, I think the IE80s are a worthwhile 'downgrade' if you like bass and choose to let go of your 232s. Except the isolation with stock tips is poor at best - buy some foam tips from Comply or Jaben or wherever you can source them, and you should be set. The ergonomics of the IE80s can be tricky with some people, so make sure you are prepared to return them to Amazon... All the way in Germany... Or audition them somewhere before buying.

 

Or... you could always give your 232s to me and we can swap! Just kidding :D

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post

Yes you are a bass head and there's nothing wrong with that while still wanting goodness elsewhere. Maybe try something like the new JVC fxz200.

 

Do the FXZ200s isolate well?  From what I've seen in pictures, the housings seem quite large and may not get that deep isolation needed for good isolation.  He was using these on air planes, he needs something that will isolate similarly to the X10.  I do agree that he may be a bass head though.  Like you said, nothing wrong with that, there are plenty on Head-Fi :)  

 

@StyleElements: the PFE232 aren't neutral/reference sound like the PFE112 are.  With grey filters, they actually sound like the PFE112 with black, but better sub-bass response.  I'm curious to whether or not the OP has used the green filters or not with his 232.  


Edited by tinyman392 - 1/20/13 at 8:22pm
post #13 of 21

I think you're right about the JVC's aren't good at isolation. If you want good isolation, look at Comply's website and see which earphones fit their T-100 line-up. Those phones will surely go deep into your ears and isolate better than others. It's a shame that RE0s don't have those small nozzles. I like how they sound (even topple my TDK BA200s as of now) but not as comfortable nor isolating. I always prefer it hard and deep... no pun intended :D

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by StyleElements View Post

Ryan, I own the X10s and I can say that for plane travel isolation, I have yet to have any of my (limited range of) IEMs best them. For me, the X10s have superior isolation when stationary (as on a plane). Thus, I don't think it's too unusual that the 232 isn't satisfying your dead-silence craving in the air. I also note that for a single BA, the X10s have plenty of bass, with impact and rumble and what have you.

 

Given your situation, I should say I'm no expert on the PFE232, I've only heard the 112 and yes, it was closer to neutral than my collection is. I'm sure (and also I've read around the place) that the 232 is a super capable IEM with great precision and quality bass, but for some people that just doesn't do it.

I also own the Sennheiser IE80s, and let me say, I find them an upgrade from the X10s in every way except isolation, including bass quality (and quantity, if you so choose). The rumble on these things with my humble E11 amp's bass boost is more than satisfactory, and with EDM it's great. As for treble detail and resolution, as well as reproducing a 'natural' sound, you will find they do not perform up to PFE232 standard (based entirely on impressions I've read, as I don't own the 232). I still think the IE80 has a smooth, pretty detailed, non-sibilant treble and, to my ears, wonderfully rich mids like those on my Momentum, which I like.

 

At $270 from amazon.de, I think the IE80s are a worthwhile 'downgrade' if you like bass and choose to let go of your 232s. Except the isolation with stock tips is poor at best - buy some foam tips from Comply or Jaben or wherever you can source them, and you should be set. The ergonomics of the IE80s can be tricky with some people, so make sure you are prepared to return them to Amazon... All the way in Germany... Or audition them somewhere before buying.

 

Or... you could always give your 232s to me and we can swap! Just kidding :D

The IE80 sounds like a good choice for the op, if bass quantity is his main concern and not isolation. I have both the PFE232 and IE80 and they isolate about the same. If anything the PFE232 may isolate a hair better for me. You are right, the IE80 is almost like the in-ear version of the Momentum. Both are a little too meaty on the bottom end for me, as they tend to veil the mid and upper ranges. That is precisely why I chose the PFE232 and Amperior over them. ;-)

post #15 of 21

Entirely different experience for me. I sold my X10's shortly after I got the PFE232's.

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