Thought this new IEM could use an appreciation thread! Just got mine a week ago and I'm loving mine! Here my review of which can also be seen on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/EarSonics-SM64-Universal-In-Ear-Monitor/dp/B00B77T1SC/ref=cm_cr-mr-title
The Earsonics SM64 is a beautiful IEM, it may looks like a “Westone” copy but is really far different. This phone isn’t a “value” headphone per-say, but those that make the splurge will be happy they did, as it’s articulate, slightly warm, immersive and has a gorgeous soundstage.
I sold my Westone 4 and a full size can to acquire these. Yes I miss my Westone 4 and thought I might regret it but after having this IEM for a few days and comparing it with my Heir 4ai quite a bit I am not sorry I made the choice. Throughout this review I will make comparisons to the Westone and the 4ai as those are my two points of reference.
I should also mention that Earsonics has so far done an “update” to this IEM. They are not calling it V2. It seems every IEM sold after JAN of 2013 is the revision version. Apparently you can send the earlier version and get it modified.
Pretty simple packaging. You get a nice pocket size zip case, a cleaner, and some various silicone tips and Comply tips. The P-Series tips that come with this are not my favorite as they provide VERY deep insertion to the point where I find them slightly uncomfortable. To make my favorite Comply 500’s work I cut the bore out of the silicone tips and put it inside of the comply 500.
I compared it between the p series comply and no discernible difference in sound can be detected. Soundstage is very similar if not the same. All listening was done with the comply tips.
The fit is very similar to the Westone Headphone’s, the one thing I do appreciate is that they include bendable plastic ear holders on the headphone cord so that you can mold then around above the ear. My Westones did not have this and one problem I always had with them is the cord would fall over my ear. Not a problem here.
The cable is wound around itself, westone style, I’ve only had this a few days but it hasn’t unwound at all.
The sound has not changed in approx. 50 hours of use.
This is the best all-around balanced armature I have used. I have owned at one point the entire westone line including the Westone 4, and currently own the Heir 4ai. As many know, it’s not the amount of Armature units, but how they are implemented. There’s a three-way cross-over here and it has proven for a very cohesive sound. Each frequency is smooth, yet detailed with a high amount of clarity. The bass is slightly impactful and full with a nice reverb quality that stays in it’s range.
LOWS: No leakage into the mids, what-so-ever. I am used to slightly warmer sounding IEM’s like the Westone’s. There seems to be a very slight bump in the VERY low sub-bass frequencies that is very pleasing but once over 100 HZ it is very clean and flat. By personal preference I actually add a little in the EQ to the mid-bass to provide a slight amount of warmth.
The bass quality is tight with a hint of loose warmth almost like the hifiman re262. The difference is that quality and quantity is better than re262. I really appreciate the fact that EarSonic’s made the bass sound a little more like a dynamic driver. It makes the sound slightly more analog which is to my liking. The control and separation of the bass is what makes this section special. It really does act like having a good sub-woofer in a full system. It interrupts when called upon in a charming and pleasing way, but when it needs to purr just to add to a vocal it does so. Very cohesive, very clean, a little dynamic.
This isn’t a bass-head IEM. It won’t blast you away, but it will suit anything from EDM to bluegrass.
In comparison to the 4ai, this actually is more controlled within the frequency range, with slightly more quantity. The quality is about the same, but the 4ai has more mid bas which adds a pleasant warmth to the 4ai. I like that this section is flatter on the SM64 as I would prefer to EQ this in instead of having it already present.
I haven’t heard the SM3 which came before this but the only complaint I ever really heard from reading was that the mids were slightly veiled, which is what led me to go for the SM64 instead of the SM3.
The mids here was ever so slightly forward but the quality of them is astounding. For me this is what really sets the EarSonics apart from the Westone 4. The Westone 4 has beautiful mids but they are ever so slightly congested. The Westone does every really well, but doesn’t astonish me in any one area. The Earsonics have a touch of warmth but emphasize clarity, and a hint of weight in the mids. This makes for an IEM that does female and male vocals remarkably well.
The soundstage becomes quite apparent here too, as many times IEM will have soundstages that are either more tall or more wide in presentation which makes for a less cohesive sound. The EarSonic’s have a very round soundstage that has incredible detailing that adds to its width, but also just the right amount of distance and reverb that puts the listener at the center point of the theatre instead of too close or too far away.
In comparison to the 4ai it’s really a toss-up. As they both have incredibly beautiful mids and soundstages. The main difference is the 4ai comes across as slightly smoother and liquid, where-as the SM64 provides a slight bit more clarity in the upper mids. This can possibly be contributed to the slight dip the 4ai possesses in 4K area. But nonetheless I haven’t seen a freq. curve for the SM64.
This is where EarSonics hit it out of the park. An extreme amount of clarity, separation, and imaging, without any hint of sibilance, peaks, or discontinuity.
I can hear the banjo player move his fingers along the strings, the right amount of reverb recorded by the studio engineer, and the distance the singer is standing from the mic.
The treble and high frequencies are smoother than any IEM I’ve heard and this includes the 4ai by a very small margin. It doesn’t make the SM64 better to listen to, as depending on one’s taste it’s a toss up.
The SM64 doesn’t add air to the music, it just present it in an effortless and beautiful manner. No earphone I have does this as well as the SM64. The TDK IE800 does this remarkably well too, but compared to the SM64 it is strained and artificial sounding. The natural quality of the treble is astounding.
COMPARISONS TO THE HEIR 4ai
The main differences between the two are:
- Slight mid-bass in the 4ai that adds nice warmth that isn’t as present in the SM64.
- Slightly more bass quantity in the SM64, although when Eq’d the bass quality and quantity is remarkably similar.
- Upper mids are more liquid and even on the SM64 while the lower mids are more liquid and even on the 4ai.
- Slightly more “air” in the 4ai generally, but it seems to be a slightly more focused on higher frequencies, while the “air” within the soundstage is more “even” with the SM64.
- Separation and Imaging is slightly better on the SM64 to my ear, but it’s a close race.
- Spectrum and frequency range is equal.
NOTE ON AMPING:
These do have an impedance of 98 I believe, and when tested without my C421 JDS Labs amp, they sounded a little sloppy and most noticeably thinner on the low end. The upper mids became a little "grainy" and both sides of the frequency spectrum and the soundstage were seemingly lessened. These WANT THE POWER! They actually sound best the best off my Schiit Lyr! If you have a powerful desktop amp I'd urge you to give it a run. These are just as finicky power and source wise as my HIFIMAN RE262, which was a nuisance to match up. The Mullard CV2492's sounded especially incredible with these. They actually warmed up the lower mids a tiny bit too.
I'd be interested to hear others notes on source and what they find best with these incredible IEM's.
That’s all for now I will add more if I see fit.
I’d love to see someone do a comparison between these, and the FITEAR 334. Has anyone compared the Heir’s to the FITEAR?
Thanks for reading, these are highly recommended!
I don't have any pics so I'd love it if somebody could post some!
Edited by zach915m - 2/17/13 at 6:56pm