E12/E11/C&C BH Comparison
320kbps on Rockboxxed ipod 5.5g 80gb
PURE SILVER LOD
No EQ -
Kendrick Lamar- Real (Hip Hop)
E11 (EQ2, High Gain) - Great Bass, smooth vocals, detail in vocals. Wide soundstage.Great layering in instruments.
C&C BH (LF On, SF Off, high gain) - Detail across the spectrum, maybe a touch thin sounding. Doesn't hit as low as the E11, bass hits but it doesn't HIT. Definitely present and clean. Clarity increased from E11.. removes smoothness in the process.
E12 (0db,Crossfeed off, Bass Boost on) - Clean and balanced sound, no Bass roll off. Bass feels like its between the EQ1 and EQ2 of the E11, like an EQ1.5. Clarity is similar to BH.
Incubus - Adolescents (Alternative)
E12 (16db, crossfeed off, Bass boost on) - Awesome timbre, and airiness. Vocals detailed and excellent. Balanced and clean. Wide soundstage, no sibilance.
C&C BH (High Gain, LF on, SF off) - Super detailed and increased clarity. Brightness makes treble a bit harsh. Sibilance present in the hi hats. Slightly bigger soundstage than E12.
E11 (EQ2, High Gain) - Widest soundstage, vocals a touch dark. signature U shaped of the 40s present. Layering and instrument separation awesome.Smooth all around. Loving the bass drum!
Winner: E12 then E11.
Ellie Goulding - Lights (Bassnectar Remix) (Dubstep)
E12 - (16db, crossfeed off, Bass boost on) - Clarity and detail in Ellie's voice. Awesome balance and layering. Great highs, bassline envelopes you in song. Wide soundstage. Airy. Great.
E11 (EQ2, High Gain) - Highs and mids smoothed over from E12. Bass hits a teeenyny bit harder than the E12 (Surprising even with EQ at 2). Overall sound-sig back to the U-shape. Layering better than the E12.
C&C BH (High Gain, LF on, SF off) - Largely increased detail and clarity over E11 and E12, making it a bit analytical. Less weight on vocals however.. Bass cleaner and same impact as E11 and E12 (!). Highs brighter.
Winner: E12, then C&C BH.
Matthew Santos - Love Sick Fool (Acoustic)
C&C BH (High Gain, LF on, SF off) - Clarity and detail, imagery in guitar. Slight sibilance. Crystal clear vocals. Analytical. Mettalic tinge slightly back.
E11 (EQ2, High Gain)- Vocals have more weight and velvety smooth. Bass on EQ2 more prevalent, almost overbearing. Bass on EQ1 perfect for this song. No sibilance. Touch of darkness.
E12 - (16db, crossfeed off, Bass boost on) - Bass prevalance similar to EQ2 on E11. Clarity better than E11, but still maintains smoothness. Vocals are awesome with this amp.
Winner: E12, then E11.
Foo Fighters - Everlong (rock)
E12 - (16db, crossfeed off, Bass boost on) - Wide soundstage, loving the bass drum. Imaging and layering superb.
E11 (EQ2, High Gain) - Similar to E12, though a touch dark on the vocals and increased sub bass. EQ1 is perfect setting for this IEM.
C&C BH (High Gain, LF on, SF off) - Largely increased clarity and detail. Imaging increased. Teeny bit sibilant. More balanced sound all around. Bass hits similar to EQ1 of E11.
Winner: E12, then C&C BH.
Conclusion: Is the E12 an upgrade to the E11? It largely depends on what you're looking for. The E12 balances out the sound across the spectrum. The bass impact is akin to an EQ1.5 of the E11 (if it had one) and removes the touch of darkness the E11 is known for. Despite the darkness and U-shape, the E11 is definitely enjoyable to listen to when paired with the 40s. Is the E12 worth replacing the E11? Only if you are willing sacrifice slight bass impact to remove the darkness of the E11 (and drop the extra $60).
Regarding the C&C BH, it is largely a love-hate relationship with the amp. On one point, it reminds you about the BA in XBA. It truly brings out the clarity and detail in each song. On the other, it turns the 40s into an analytical IEM, removing the smoothness, and sometimes adds a bit of sibilance. Interestingly enough, the bass impact is similar to the E12 (EQ "1.5" of E11), but cleaner all around. To me, increased detail and clarity made the treb a bit fatiguing.
All in all you really can't go wrong with either amp. I do hold stance that the 40s do need to be amped to sound their best. Here is my overview of the three
E11 - Best bass impact and smoothest of the three amps. Smooth mids, awesome lows and highs. U-shaped, and a touch of darkness. Smoothness helps to attain better layering of the music.
- Best feature: EQ0, EQ1, and EQ2 settings help tune down (or unleash) the super-woofers of the 40s.
C&C BH - Best clarity and detail of the three amps. Cleanest bass of the three as well. Low-end impact similar to the E12. Highs sound legendary with these.
- Best feature: 80 hours of playtime per charge?! Yes please.
E12 - Most natural sounding of the 3 amps. Clean sound, E11 darkness removed. Bass similar to EQ1.5. Levels out the U-shape of the 40s.
- Best feature: Awesome build quality all around. Future proof for any future full-sized can or powerhungry IEM purchase.