Thank you. As always, my reviews are late. Schedule is a word I've not yet managed to take to heart.
Sleek Audio SA7 Appreciation, Impressions, and Discussion Thread! - Page 3
Gear mentioned in this thread:
Missed another train. I have two earphone sets to review prior to SA7, but I have a hard time keeping my mind on them as the SA7 is so damn complete sounding. Tomorrow: Noble Audio, then Chord & Major, then Sleek Audio.
It's funny: years ago, I didn't think that Sleek worked to compete on price point, but today, after some delays, they do. Their SA7 delivers incredible coherence while offering customisation and a damn good box. Current favour SA7 genre: folk rock. I'm on Peter, Paul, and Mary now.
The SA7, in conjunction with a new website going online, have a new price; $249.99. I have one on the way. I had some trouble ordering with the new website but a call to Bill got things straight quickly. Mine should be here before weeks end. About the time, I'm informed, that Shigz's review should come forth(no pressure though).
That's a good deal. A little annoyed that I paid $289 last month and that was with a 20% special. For it's current price of $250, you really can't go wrong. However, I really wish Sleek would change and/or update their proprietary cables, though. Also, notice in their new website that there's now a 10% return fee plus whatever shipping it costed for Sleek to ship to you. I believe this is a new policy; at least I don't recall their site having this verbiage with the old site.
Yes, probably with the lower price they won't absorb those costs and now charge a fee. Many have 15% restock fees so 10% seems in line. I know Phonak was 15% but I returned a pair to them and they never charged the fee.
Now, I don't mind the cable. I will pick one out and have the connectors changed just like people are doing for the H-200's. Not bad factoring in the lower price and more options than we had before.
Got news that from now until Halloween, everything is 20% off. That makes the SA7 $200. With the holidays coming up, I'm wondering if Bill will be selling them for less than that.
Curious, do both the H-200 and SA7 cables have the same cable coaxial cable connector?
Still waiting on Shigzero's long overdue impressions.
Now I guess I can be a little annoyed that I paid $249 a month ago, lol!
Nope, the TPEOS is too big, 2.5mm vs. 2mm. They are essentially mini barrel power connectors. Blox cable will work, Moxpad if you want a cable with a mic, and Panasonic. The Audiomaster AiM2(I think that's the model) also uses the same connectors. Figure around $40 if you want another cable but they all have straight connection and not right angle like the SA1 cable. Most have memory wires which I think is good to help overcome the straight connectors. The Sleek cable seems fine but some of the other cables are nicer and have RA or 45 degree plugs if you want that.
I really wasn't digging the SA7 unamped till I bought Soundearphones last bass port multi-pack. Much happier with the bass minus. The LTD were a bit boomy and bass dominant until I fed them enough juice/a cleaner line out. That big bass hurt the layering and low end detail. Slowed and slightly smeared not befitting a top tier although the bass reach is the best for armature phones that I have heard. TF10 beat, SM3 beat, Ety beat, XBA40 beat, etc. Only became quicker and more articulate when amped though. Now I am quite happy that it is noticeable closer to the amped sound. I am still finding my preferred tips though.
Of course a top tier with dual ultra wide-bands is deserving of amping but I like to be able to just grab and go sometimes. Right now happy with Bass -, treble + and SHE3580 medium tips.
Edited by jant71 - 10/19/13 at 11:02am
Curious why Sleek didn't include bass ports with the SA7 like they did with the SA6. Was it PITA swapping out the bass ports? I'm almost tempted to repurchase the SA7 and add the SA6 bass tuning ports, but I was unable to find well fitting and good sounding tips as none of the stock tips worked for me.
On a side note, I recently discovered that an ex-colleague of mine has the custom version, CT7 and favored it over his JH13 and UE11. I was intrigued by his ciem favoritism.
Edited by alpha421 - 10/20/13 at 9:14am
I find the SA7 pretty fickle. Not as bad as something like the SM3 V1 or the XBA40 both of which I would have to get new gear to get the best out of(which I wasn't doing) but a learning curve and trial and error. At least they are still pretty damn good and fun even when less than their truest potential. Too bass focused but not the thick/veiled SM3 midbass(even with the dampers out; source was more the key) nor the Sony XBA's kinda blah mids and coherency issues with more than a few types of tips.
As for the bass ports. I remember someone saying they were a different size. Obviously wrong as they fit just fine and I knew when I checked the pics of the updated bass ports which are the same as come installed in the SA7. I do feel that the bass - should be the bass = as there isn't much room between the + and the - . Still elevated bass and above flat or neutral regardless of what bass minus might suggest. I think the too small steps between each, the repeated changing led to loosening and lost ports, and the previous pin modding of the old ones led them to just go with the last incarnation as the only option.
It might stem from the fact that the cable is warm. Not sure but a few who played around back with the SA6 and HJE900 said the Sleek cable was warmer and putting the HJE cable on the sleek gave a thinner less warm, sound. True? Not enough evidence but if I end up getting another cable and it is a bit less warm down low that would straighten out the bass ports making the - closer to neutral and making the + stop before being a bit too much(at least for me).
Shigz also gave an highly positive review of the CT7. These drivers are quite good no doubt.
Well, I is finally done. I spent the last few days of an intense multi-week shoot listening to the SA7 only. It is completely and utterly worth the effort. In fact, for fans of independent rock, folk, electronic, and even trance, the SA7 is so good that taking it out even to kiss a pretty wife is difficult. Yep. The cable, however, is as bad as ever it was. That has to change. It has no place in above-40$ audio.
I will share the review with TMA readers, but it will be one of the last ones I publish on TMA as I simply don't have the time to work at both sites. Honestly, I love what I hear and I love what Sleek have with the new, robust design. The price is more than worthy of what comes in the excellent Pelican case.
Thanks Shigzero. Great impressions and review as always. I enjoy reading them. I'm glad I made the repurchase and this time bought the SA6 bass ports to fiddle with them like jant71 had done. Right now, the price is an absolute steal. I just sold off my GR8 for the SA7.
Edited by alpha421 - 10/20/13 at 9:13am
Nice review Shigz!
Hmmm, I wanna send my SA7 in and have them checked out, Shigz:) I know my Sony S639 is better than some others Sony players regards hiss but I hear no hiss from it or any other player I own. Mine is either bass focused or fairly even after I tame it. Mids are very good but usually even or maybe rarely a bit forward. My pair doesn't seem as quick as yours and I would like that. It does speed up more when amped.
And you have extra bass ports pictured? I don't think mine or Alphas came with them. I purchased mine at extra cost afterwards.
I will say my cable has been tugged and the SA7 yanked out of my ears and such without any issues so far.
My SA7 are perfection on the outside; fit and finish is perfect. No glue or smudges as mentioned in your review. My treble tips are fine as well but the treble pair tend to fit looser than the others and start to unscrew themselves. The issue I have, and I think I will call Bill up about it, is the inside of the earphones. The acrylic they mold inside to coat the aluminum and then drill through to make the bore is fine on one side and off center on the other. This gives one side a clean straight bore while the other side is not a straight shot through being off center. I find the soundstage collapses quite easy on my pair and it may be due to the slight obstruction on the one side.
I really think my difficulty in getting more what you hear and consistent performance might be because I need that one side swapped out for a better one. We'll see what the deal is tomorrow. I'll check maybe if they can swap out treble ports that stay in as well and also ask about new third party cables and bass ports.
Edited by jant71 - 10/20/13 at 9:55am