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I was disappointed with the PFE232, what should be my next high end universal?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I purchased the PFE232 a few months ago after reading a lot about them. I was looking for an IEM with neutral mids, and I thought the PFE232 would be perfect for that since it was slightly v-shaped. When I first heard it, I was completely disappointed. The mids were too recessed for me, male vocals sounded grainy, and it felt a bit artificial in some songs. I was really disappointed after hearing so much praise. I tried burning them in but I felt no difference. I've decided that I'm looking for a more mid-centric sound signature, and so far, the IEMs that most appeal to me are the Sony EX1000, Westone 4, and Monster Miles Davis Tribute. I haven't read that much about the Sony EX1000, but it seems really well regarded around here, people talk a lot about its mids. The westone 4 seems really appealing because it's mids seem like they are perfectly placed, meaning they are neither overly forward nor recessed. Lastly, the miles davis tribute seems like technically inferior IEM compared to the other two, but from what I've read, I feel like I would love its sound signature. It seems like its sound signature is really lush and full sounding because of the amount of bass and mids it has, and I want my IEM to sound thick and "creamy". The tribute seems to have an LCD-2 like sound, so it's really appealing to me. Which IEM would fit my bill? I'm looking for a good amount of bass (I'm ok with the bass being neutral, but not basslight), thick, lush, and "creamy" mids, and neutral highs (neither blurry/toned down like the SE535 nor overemphasized). I listen mostly to male vocals, alternative, rock, and metal.


Edited by daniel521 - 3/3/13 at 6:29pm
post #2 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel521 View Post

I purchased the PFE232 a few months ago after reading a lot about them. I was looking for an IEM with neutral mids, and I thought the PFE232 would be perfect for that since it was slightly v-shaped. When I first heard it, I was completely disappointed. The mids were too recessed for me, male vocals sounded grainy, and it felt a bit artificial in some songs. I was really disappointed after hearing so much praise. I tried burning them in but I felt no difference. I've decided that I'm looking for a more mid-centric sound signature, and so far, the IEMs that most appeal to me are the Sony EX1000, Westone 4, and Monster Miles Davis Tribute. I haven't read that much about the Sony EX1000, but it seems really well regarded around here, people talk a lot about its mids. The westone 4 seems really appealing because it's mids seem like they are perfectly placed, meaning they are neither overly forward nor recessed. Lastly, the miles davis tribute seems like technically inferior IEM compared to the other two, but from what I've read, I feel like I would love its sound signature. It seems like its sound signature is really lush and full sounding because of the amount of bass and mids it has, and I want my IEM to sound thick and "creamy". The tribute seems to have an LCD-2 like sound, so it's really appealing to me. Which IEM would fit my bill? I'm looking for a good amount of bass (I'm ok with the bass being neutral, but not basslight), thick, lush, and "creamy" mids, and neutral highs (neither blurry/toned down like the SE535 nor overemphasized). I listen mostly to male vocals, alternative, rock, and metal.

 

I don't know where you heard the PFE232 having a slight V, but that's not close to the truth :p  The W4 may fit your bill, they have thicker, warmer sound to them.  Come to think of it, the 4.Ai may even work well for you too.

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post

 

I don't know where you heard the PFE232 having a slight V, but that's not close to the truth :p  The W4 may fit your bill, they have thicker, warmer sound to them.  Come to think of it, the 4.Ai may even work well for you too.

They sounded really v-shaped to me, I guess I'm just really sensitive to mid recession or something that :p. The W4 seems like my best choice, the 4.Ai seems good but I heard that the W4 does vocals a lot better, and I listen to a lot of vocals. 

post #4 of 23

Ex1000 sucks with bad/bright recordings. The highs/treble might be very piercing especially with louder volume levels.

The W4 plays too relaxing for the rock genre...

You should definitely try the UE900. IMO the most perfectly balanced universal

post #5 of 23

I haven´t heard the UE900 yet, but I think JohannLiebert´s suggestion is good. The general consensus here seems to be that UE900 has a balanced yet engaging sound signature. The only major downside seems to be the build quality, so buy from a place that are easy to handle warranty stuff with.

post #6 of 23

I think the EX1000 is better for male vocals and the bass has more impact. The EX1000 seems to have a better horizontal soundstage and sounds more effortless than the W4, but I believe upper mids/female vocals sound more detailed on the W4.

The EX1000 also has wind noise issues.

 

Admittedly I've only used the EX1000 for like 20 hours though but I prefer it at the moment. From skimming, the UE900 seems to have considerable quality control issues so I wouldn't really go for that. And I hear the UE900 has less bass than the W4, which has less bass than the EX1000.

post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel521 View Post

They sounded really v-shaped to me, I guess I'm just really sensitive to mid recession or something that :p. The W4 seems like my best choice, the 4.Ai seems good but I heard that the W4 does vocals a lot better, and I listen to a lot of vocals. 

 

I was implying that you were right about the 232's V-shape, not wrong, it does have a deeper V.  Whoever told you it was only a "slight" V lied through their teeth :p  The W4 does vocals a lot better due to its extension in the upper ranges.  There is a treble spike at the 10k range though that the 4.Ai doesn't have.  The 4.Ai will lose out on female vocals against the W4, but should be good for the majority of male.  It'd end up a trade off if you wanted to choose between the two.

 

I've also heard the UE 900 as a recommendation.  As much as I love the UE 900, the 4.Ai will do better for the lushness of the male vocals.  The 900s will do female vocals a lot better with a little edge to them over the 4.Ai (which loses out on a bit of the upper end extension of the vocals).  The W4 will product both just fine.  That said, I would suggest against the UE 900 and go either 4.Ai or W4.  The W4 would be the safer choice, but it has a V in it :( (neither the 4.Ai or UE 900 has a V, they'll give you the midrange focus you desire).

post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestions guys :)

 

From your comments, I get the impression that the UE900 will perform better for rock/metal, the 4.Ai will perform better for male vocals since it has a more lush sound, and that the westone 4 is the best all-arounder and the safest choice since nothing is really missing in its sound signature. There's something about the UE900 that worries me though, I heard that the upper mids are sort of veiled, will it feel like there's something missing? I hate it when there's something in the midrange that's missing (which is why I disliked the PFE232).

 

@tinyman392 I don't really listen to any female vocals, only male vocals. Do you think the UE900 will perform badly compared to the 4.Ai with male vocals? Also, I heard the westone 4 had a veil in its lower midrange, do you think that might affect male vocals as well?

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel521 View Post

Thanks for the suggestions guys :)

 

From your comments, I get the impression that the UE900 will perform better for rock/metal, the 4.Ai will perform better for male vocals since it has a more lush sound, and that the westone 4 is the best all-arounder and the safest choice since nothing is really missing in its sound signature. There's something about the UE900 that worries me though, I heard that the upper mids are sort of veiled, will it feel like there's something missing? I hate it when there's something in the midrange that's missing (which is why I disliked the PFE232).

 

@tinyman392 I don't really listen to any female vocals, only male vocals. Do you think the UE900 will perform badly compared to the 4.Ai with male vocals? Also, I heard the westone 4 had a veil in its lower midrange, do you think that might affect male vocals as well?

 

The UE 900 has strong upper midrange, it just lacks in the lower-to-center midrange (there's actually a dip in this area :().  There really is no veil though as the bass just isn't strong enough to induce it.  The midrange is definitely more forward.

 

As for the UE 900 on male vocals, you won't be able to capture the depth/lushness of most male vocalists, so the 4.Ai will be better.  The W4 does great with male vocals despite having some veil in the midrange.  

post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel521 View Post

 I'm looking for a good amount of bass (I'm ok with the bass being neutral, but not basslight), thick, lush, and "creamy" mids, and neutral highs (neither blurry/toned down like the SE535 nor overemphasized). I listen mostly to male vocals, alternative, rock, and metal.

Sounds like the Aurisonic ASG-1's are right up your alley. Though I wouldnt call the mids lush, just very very clean.

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by whitefroded View Post

Sounds like the Aurisonic ASG-1's are right up your alley. Though I wouldnt call the mids lush, just very very clean.

 

I actually would call the ASG-1 lush, very lush.  There's just little to no high end in them :(

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post

 

I actually would call the ASG-1 lush, very lush.  There's just little to no high end in them :(

 

Well its all subjective. While I dont think that highs are the ASG's strong point I would definitely not say that there is no high end whatsoever. It may not sparkle, but it is definitely present.

post #13 of 23

Hi, I think the EX1000 could fit to you, but are very critical with the recordings and the sources, the W4 could fit too, and the 4.Ai like others recommends you, any of the three are good suggestions, the prices are similar, but the linearity is important and it depends of the impedance of the earphones and the output impedance of the source.

I don´t know very much of 4.Ai because I just use it 2 hours connected to an Arrow 4G amp, for that I recommend you between the 3 the W4.

I don´t hear the UE900 so I can´t say anything about.

Last thing have you consider the Earsonics SM3 v2???

Cheers

Gonzalo


Edited by GonzaloM - 3/4/13 at 6:43pm
post #14 of 23
Just bought the SM64 and from what you've said they might be worth considering, too. Female vocals (my pref) are done well. I'll dig up some male vocals and let you know how they perform.

After that I can compare them to the W4 and TF10s (to be fair to the 64s I've been giving time for brain burn-in).

-Eric
post #15 of 23

I recommend that you give Westone 4 a try. Very balanced sounding.

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