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Earsonics SM64: The Impressions Thread - Page 81

post #1201 of 1338

So a Crystal edition of the SM64 (like they did with the S-EM6)?  No changes to the internals or sound signature, right?

post #1202 of 1338

No, no changes in sound,

 

Here's a link to more specifications in Average Joe's post:

 

http://theheadphonelist.com/earsonics-sm64-ice-limited-edition-ear-monitors-available-now/

post #1203 of 1338

the greats item i have

post #1204 of 1338
Selling the SPC PlusSound cable if anyone is interested. Pm me.
post #1205 of 1338
*drops down $350 on a pair*

Slow shipping is the bane of my existence. Sigh.
post #1206 of 1338

I ordered the set of Westone tips, and here are some of my updated findings (for my ears):

 

Westone star tips with the blue ring are the best overall sounding of the set. I wish there was one between the green and the blue, because the green seems too short and messes with soundstaging. The blues are longer, but need to be placed more carefully or else it sounds very thin.

 

The Westone foams that come in the same set increase bass quantity a lot, but it is kind of bloated.

 

Overall, I recommend the Westone star tips (blue ring) alongisde the Shure yellow foamies. I think those give the best sound performance from the SM64s (filters removed). 

post #1207 of 1338

Lasting Impressions from This Thread

 

If I were an IEM noob having read all posts in this thread, I believe I would be rather hesitant to buy the SM64. If I were a noob I believe my lasting impressions of this thread would be …

 

  • that the SM64 is flawed by a serious suck out at 5 kHz,
  • that some filters (“what’s that and where do they sit!?”) need to be removed using some tool that I don’t have or know how to use,
  • that I must spend extra money and time on third party ear tips to get it to sound right,
  • that the probability is rather large that it will fall apart if I actually use it or that it will be faulty already from the start, and
  • that I might need to invest in a more powerful digital audio player or an amplifier to make it sound loud enough.

 

I would probably, no, I would most likely think – “Nah, there must be better options!”


So, let me comment on this…

 

 

An Electroacoustic Abomination – About the 5 kHz Dip/Scoop/Suck out

 

So, is the 5 kHz suck out really there? Yes, no doubt about it! Can it actually be heard? Again yes, and very definitely so when listening to a slow sine wave! Can it be heard while listening to music? Well it is there so of course it affects the sound. So, does it degrade the musical experience? Well, that is the million dollar question! Considering how well the SM64 performs overall I’d say this technical aberration probably has a very limited overall influence on the sound signature. If it was possible to eradicate this suck out it would probably change the sound signature to some extent, but personally I’m not convinced that it would be for the better. I just don’t think I would want to take the risk. It is simply not a big deal, not a big deal at all unless you consider a flat sounding frequency response more important than the IEM’s ability to convey a truly musical and engaging experience, which in my opinion the SM64 definitely can.

 

In this context and as bric-a-brac it is interesting to note that there is probably no musical notation ever written to sound at 5 kHz (at least not for any common instrument, be it a violin or electric guitar). For example, the highest note that can be played on a violin is roughly the note B7 (see the above image) at 3951 Hz. That would be at the very end of the fingerboard on the E string, i.e. the thinnest string. So, I think we can pretty safely conclude that the risk of actually hearing this suck out while listening to any kind of sustained note being played on an instrument or sung by a singer is non-existent. It affects other more subtle aspects of the sound.


Because of this 5 kHz suck out, Rin Choi dubbed the SM64 an abomination! Considering the many honourable SM64 reviews written by some pretty renowned reviewers - such as for example ljokerl and average_joe, to name just two - goes to show what happens when measuring is used as the cardinal resource to validate and review the performance level of an IEM. Indeed, there are IEMs that measure really well but still fails to recreate the kind of emotional response that live music can. The Philips Fidelio S2 is in my opinion an example of that. What we see here is a clash between those who predominantly consider sound reproduction a science and those who consider it an art, the latter being the domain of the SM64.


I can see why one would be tempted to route to the scientific approach if perfect sound reproduction is the objective, but my gut feeling tells me the methods applied are insufficient. I am rather pessimistic when it comes to the possibilities of ever being able to reproduce sound perfectly; my simple argument being that sound is too complex to be measured (at least with today’s methods) and that only “this violin” can sound exactly as “this violin”. However, there are makers who are able to design IEMs that are capable of recreating – at least to a large extent – the same kind of emotional response that live music does, and the SM64 does a rather unique and very, very fine job at that.


Conclusively, for those who predominantly consider sound reproduction a science rather than an art, the SM64 may not be the right cup of tea. However, for those on a quest for an IEM that is able to deliver the same kind of emotional response that live music can do, I suggest trying the SM64.

 

 

Filter Removal


Some owners have removed the filters but the effect on the sound signature is obviously inconclusive; some enjoy it while others don’t. The only thing certain seems to be that removing the filters does change the sound signature to some extent.

 

As can been seen in the above picture the filters aren’t filters in the traditional sense but simply a pair of very thin hollow metallic cylinders (these filters look rather thick in the picture, but I’d guess they’re only a tenth of a millimetre or so). For this reason I would be surprised if the effect of removing the filters would be very significant at all – be it good or bad - for most listeners.


It has been suggested that the filters can be removed by using the filter removal tool from Etymotic Research. However, having tried this myself I’ve found it less than ideal. The SM64 filters are metallic whereas the Etymotic filters are plastic. I think there is a risk the filter removal tool might damage the filters and/or the bore of the SM64. And, as the filters aren’t designed to be removable I do recommend leaving them in.

 

 

Build Quality

 

Personally I have not had any problems with build quality on my IEMs from EarSonics. I now have in my possession the SM3 v1, the EM6, and the SM64 v2 and I have a history of the EM4. It does not contradict that there are problems with build quality and quality control but personally I have not experienced any, and reasonably carefully handled, I really see no reason why they should break. Also, all my communication with EarSonics (e-mail and phone) has been very smooth.

 

 

Third Party Ear Tips

 

The stock tips are quite excellent. I definitely feel that the stock double flange silicone tips yield the most enjoyable sound. The stock foam tips improve isolation and they sound almost as good but at the expense of a tad bit less clarity. An advantage of the foam tips over the silicone tips is that they will fit any ear. There is no real need for third party ear tips unless you enjoy experimenting or you can’t get the stock double flange silicone tips to fit. In that case I too would recommend the Phonak Audeo silicone tips. To these ears they sound more or less identical to the stock double flange silicone tips but are easier to fit perfectly and give perhaps a tad bit better isolation.

 

 

Impedance and Amplifying

 

Some posts give the impression that the SM64 needs a lot more loudness than lower impedance IEMs. This is not my experience, at all. With the exception of my ALO Rx MK3-B amplifier I’ve had no problems with any of my sources, from my iPod Nano to my desktop amps. The problem with the ALO Rx MK3-B amp is that is makes the SM64 hiss quite a bit, but then again it makes my entire range of IEMs hiss so the SM64 is no exception. Anyway, the SM64 certainly doesn’t need an amplifier to make it loud enough, and I really don’t think it is more affectable to amplifying than any of my other quality IEMs. A smart phone is quite enough to make the SM64 expose its potential and should suffice for most needs.

 

 

Ljokerl’s SM64 Review

 

ljokerl; for many years one of the most respected IEM reviewers on Head-Fi scores the sound of the SM64 to 9.3. Considering that he scores the venerable FitEar To Go! 334 ($1345) to 9.5, the AKG K3003i ($1299) to 9.4 and the more than legendary Etymotic Research ER-4S ($239) to 9.1 basically makes the decision to buy the SM64, as far as sound is concerned, a no brainer if your budget is $399. ljokerl scores the sound of a few other universal IEMs to 9.3 as well but they are all more expensive. I feel ljokerl’s SM64 review is pretty much spot on, but right now I’m so excited about the emotional response that the SM64 creates in me that I feel I could sell the other mentioned universal IEMs and not miss them too much.

 

 

The EarSonics’ house sound

 

This post is not meant to be a review but for those with experience of the SM3 and/or the EM4 I’d say the SM64 takes the best of both worlds. The out-of-head experience of the EM4 and the authority of the SM3. Like the SM3 the SM64 - despite being a lot more clear/transparent sounding - is never intrusive the way the EM4 sometimes can be. This means I can enjoy the music of for example Kraftwerk, Pink, and Daft Punk through the SM64 in a way and for much longer than with any of my other IEMs. The SM3 is very non-intrusive as well but is overall less enjoyable than the SM64. The SM64 definitely shares blood with the other EarSonics IEMs.

 

 

Conclusively

 

So, to be able to truly enjoy the potential of the SM64 do I need to…

 

  • worry about the 5 kHz suck out? No!
  • remove the filters? No!
  • find third party ear tips to make it really sing? No!
  • worry it might fall apart if I use it? No!
  • pair it with an amp because of the high impedance? No!

 

Just plug it in and feel your toes start tapping. It’s all very simple!


Thanks for reading!


Edited by Aero Dynamik - 7/28/14 at 1:59pm
post #1208 of 1338

Really interesting and well worded post. Couldn't agree more (I know, my review says that the SM64 are not easy to drive, but time proved me wrong...should change that).

:beerchug:

post #1209 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Yum Goong View Post
 

Really interesting and well worded post. Couldn't agree more (I know, my review says that the SM64 are not easy to drive, but time proved me wrong...should change that).

:beerchug:

Thank you very much for your kind words :beerchug:, and happy to hear we can agree on that the SM64 isn't hard to drive.

post #1210 of 1338
I've been listening to them quite a bit recently, they do sind really fine good oen soundstage, great mids. I am one that did remove the filter, not sure anymore if it made a difference, at the time I felt it did, lost one, so can't put them back withoug getting them from the manufacturer. I do find bass a bit distant for my taste, it is there, goes quite low to my ears, but is reduced in impact, would like for music with drive in which the bass was certainly recorded at higher levels than these presents them. Still, as I said, have been my go to iem for many days now. As to amplification, I don't think they can't be driven by the regular phone, but I do suspect they scale up with better electronics, which is not the same as saying they require high power to sound good. My $0.02. I really do think it is a fine ism, worth checking out in this price range.
post #1211 of 1338

Yeh the SM64's can be sufficiently driven from my ipad mini, ipod nano and galazy s5. They do of course sound better when plugged into better quality devices like my denon receiver, ibasso dx50 or beyerdynamic a200p. Definitely the best sound i have heard at that price.

post #1212 of 1338

Hi!

 

I am looking for new IEM for my DX50 and these SM64 seem to be very good ones!

 

I listen to metal (black and death metal), so do you think they can be a good choice for this kind of music?

Or should I buy another IEM ? (I hesitate with the InEar SD2).

post #1213 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by chailee80 View Post
 

Yeh the SM64's can be sufficiently driven from my ipad mini, ipod nano and galazy s5. They do of course sound better when plugged into better quality devices like my denon receiver, ibasso dx50 or beyerdynamic a200p. Definitely the best sound i have heard at that price.

 

To my taste, it is the best of $500 range.

post #1214 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by ulfhednir View Post
 

Hi!

 

I am looking for new IEM for my DX50 and these SM64 seem to be very good ones!

 

I listen to metal (black and death metal), so do you think they can be a good choice for this kind of music?

Or should I buy another IEM ? (I hesitate with the InEar SD2).

What a coincedence!

I own a DX50, the SM64 and listen to a lot of Black Metal and a bit of Death.
Very very happy with this setup. I would say the SM64 is cut out for genres like this. Excellent fast bass, detailed mids, smooth highs and just overall a little "warm".
You probably already got all that from jokers review: http://theheadphonelist.com/headphone_review/earsonics-sm64/
I'm very happy with this combo and don't plan on buying a new IEM anytime soon.

post #1215 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Yum Goong View Post
 

What a coincedence!

I own a DX50, the SM64 and listen to a lot of Black Metal and a bit of Death.
Very very happy with this setup. I would say the SM64 is cut out for genres like this. Excellent fast bass, detailed mids, smooth highs and just overall a little "warm".
You probably already got all that from jokers review: http://theheadphonelist.com/headphone_review/earsonics-sm64/
I'm very happy with this combo and don't plan on buying a new IEM anytime soon.

Thanx for the reply!

 

Same music, same DAP, I think we will have the same IEM soon.

And yes, i've already read this review and many others. And these IEM seem really to be a good choice.

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