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SM64 vs. UM3X

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

The SM3 was absolutely perfect iem except the veiled midrange. Why SM3?

 

 

Anyway I been eyeing the UM3X for a while now.

 

But I been hearing great things about the SM64.

Anyone heard both the SM64 and UM3X?

 

If so then which one is better, and why is it better?

post #2 of 17

Personally I would stay away from Earsonics products just because their customer service is apparently quite bad. But hey, if you don't mind spending a hundred+ dollars if anything ever needs to be fixed, go for it (if you might like it better). The SM64 seems to need an amp to sound up to its potential as well, but the people who have heard it also seem to enjoy it.
 

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Bump!

Also any sales or coupons on the SM64?

post #4 of 17

If you are looking for greater midrange details than SM3 then UM3X, Westone 4, Sony EX1000, ATH_CK100Pro, Heir Audio 4Ai and Grado GR10 are better sounding with detailed mids and overall amazing sounding IEMs for the price.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks but I love everything about the SM3 except the midrange clarity.

I would prefer an IEM that is exactly like the SM3 but with better midrange clarity.

 

Could the UM3x or SM64 be it?
 

post #6 of 17

So although I'm relatively new here on head-fi, I've lurked on these forums reading up on various IEMs for over a year and a half. In that year and a half, I've had the pleasure of owning both the SM3 v2 and the UM3X RC. Right off the bat the biggest difference between the UM3X and the SM3 is the soundstage, which is a bit smaller on the UM3X (see diagram here). That said the UM3X has very forward and clear mids, albeit dry compared to the SM3. The SM64's soundstage is similar to the SM3, but is a little different and hard to describe exactly. The treble on the UM3X is ever so slightly rolled off, giving a fatigue free listening or monitoring experience (depending on what you use it for ;-) ). The mids on the UM3X are very much forward. Sometimes with some songs I feel like I am the lead singer in the song, which I guess for some can be very uncomfortable from a soundstage point of view. Instrument separation on the UM3X is supreme though, if you love that kind of thing. The SM3 or the SM64 for that matter doesn't even touch the UM3X in that department, and there's a reason I call the UM3X "the shredder". bigsmile_face.gif

 

Alright so down to the SM64 and the UM3X, which I've had the chance to compare recently. The UM3X on its own still suffers the same smaller soundstage compared to the SM64, however the realization of the full audio potential of either one of these IEMs is dependent upon the source dac/amp combination. Straight out of headphone out on a laptop for example, the UM3X will be a little better than the SM64. As soon as you add an amp into the mix the SM64 will clean up with refined treble energy and slightly forward but still lush mids. Thus the SM64 is almost like a sound refined SM3, but with the added treble energy you might find it to be slightly sibilant as well. Sibilance was a slight issue for me, which is why I still prefer the sound timbre of the SM3 and the UM3X over the SM64.

 

Now on the other hand, the UM3X with the Silver Dragon cable is an interesting story in and of itself. The smaller soundstage that you get out of the box is significantly widened with the silver dragon cable, as is the sound timbre and response. Everything just sounds cleaner and more responsive, and it definitely gives a stiff competition to the SM64 at almost the same cost if you get the UM3X RC on sale. So while you get a stock cable plus the SM64 in $500, if you get the UM3X on sale you can at least get it plus the excellent Silver Dragon cable also in $500 which evens the playing field. Plus the UM3X is, in my opinion, constructed much better and since you live in the US you'll have no problems with using the warranty either.

 

That said the SM64 is definitely a wonderful sounding IEM, and if you have the money and don't mind the potential issues with EarSonics if you have build quality issues then its definitely something you might want to try out. However I find that the safest and most satisfying route is the UM3X RC with the Moon Audio Silver Dragon cable, IMHO.


Edited by outmywindow - 3/5/13 at 1:30pm
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by outmywindow View Post

So although I'm relatively new here on head-fi, I've lurked on these forums reading up on various IEMs for over a year and a half. In that year and a half, I've had the pleasure of owning both the SM3 v2 and the UM3X RC. Right off the bat the biggest difference between the UM3X and the SM3 is the soundstage, which is a bit smaller on the UM3X (see diagram here). That said the UM3X has very forward and clear mids, albeit dry compared to the SM3. The SM64's soundstage is similar to the SM3, but is a little different and hard to describe exactly. The treble on the UM3X is ever so slightly rolled off, giving a fatigue free listening or monitoring experience (depending on what you use it for ;-) ). The mids on the UM3X are very much forward. Sometimes with some songs I feel like I am the lead singer in the song, which I guess for some can be very uncomfortable from a soundstage point of view. Instrument separation on the UM3X is supreme though, if you love that kind of thing. The SM3 or the SM64 for that matter doesn't even touch the UM3X in that department, and there's a reason I call the UM3X "the shredder". bigsmile_face.gif


Alright so down to the SM64 and the UM3X, which I've had the chance to compare recently. The UM3X on its own still suffers the same smaller soundstage compared to the SM64, however the realization of the full audio potential of either one of these IEMs is dependent upon the source dac/amp combination. Straight out of headphone out on a laptop for example, the UM3X will be a little better than the SM64. As soon as you add an amp into the mix the SM64 will clean up with refined treble energy and slightly forward but still lush mids. Thus the SM64 is almost like a sound refined SM3, but with the added treble energy you might find it to be slightly sibilant as well. Sibilance was a slight issue for me, which is why I still prefer the sound timbre of the SM3 and the UM3X over the SM64.

Now on the other hand, the UM3X with the Silver Dragon cable is an interesting story in and of itself. The smaller soundstage that you get out of the box is significantly widened with the silver dragon cable, as is the sound timbre and response. Everything just sounds cleaner and more responsive, and it definitely gives a stiff competition to the SM64 at almost the same cost if you get the UM3X RC on sale. So while you get a stock cable plus the SM64 in $500, if you get the UM3X on sale you can at least get it plus the excellent Silver Dragon cable also in $500 which evens the playing field. Plus the UM3X is, in my opinion, constructed much better and since you live in the US you'll have no problems with using the warranty either.

That said the SM64 is definitely a wonderful sounding IEM, and if you have the money and don't mind the potential issues with EarSonics if you have build quality issues then its definitely something you might want to try out. However I find that the safest and most satisfying route is the UM3X RC with the Moon Audio Silver Dragon cable, IMHO.
Very well description on the UM3X with silver dragon cable! Had that too! smily_headphones1.gif
Westone 4R with silver dragon cable sounds amazing too!
post #8 of 17
To me I've only ever owned the UM3X. I would say the UM3X lacks in the fun value and it sounds very neutral, instrumental seperation itself is actually quite good but no where near the spatial preciseness of an HD800. I sold my UM3X and prefered my Monster Miles Davis Tributes far more than the it. It was left hanging on my wall for months without usage even after burn in. To me its more of a professional's IEM than anything else. Thats just my 2 cents for you.
post #9 of 17

The SM3's mids are anything but veiled. The mids are creamy, thick-sounding and put the vocals front and center. I've heard it said many times the treble is somewhat veiled, but not the mids. The right amp solves the veil problem, at least for me. 

post #10 of 17

Also, in regards to EarSonics customer service- I believe it is like a Buyer Beware-type situation. I had a bad experience with them that I documented in the latest SM3 appreciation thread. The warranty seems to be of little value to EarSonics, so if something goes wrong you are likely to pay two-way shipping to France, and be charged a maintenance fee. Love the SM3 sound, but I'm a little afraid of using them that something should go wrong again it'll cost me $150 again even though they are still under warranty.

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post

The SM3's mids are anything but veiled. The mids are creamy, thick-sounding and put the vocals front and center. I've heard it said many times the treble is somewhat veiled, but not the mids. The right amp solves the veil problem, at least for me. 


Which amp did you use to solve the veil? I sold my sm3 because the vocals didn't sound clear or transparent enough. It could be the treble though.

But the SM3 was the best headphone I ever heard besides that.

So I would definitely consider getting them again if those vocals can be cleared up without sacrificing something else.

post #12 of 17

Got my UM3X today, did not like the sound. Not enough extension and the insertion effect the low end a lot :P

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by h1a8 View Post


Which amp did you use to solve the veil? I sold my sm3 because the vocals didn't sound clear or transparent enough. It could be the treble though.

But the SM3 was the best headphone I ever heard besides that.

So I would definitely consider getting them again if those vocals can be cleared up without sacrificing something else.

The Ibasso D3 does an exceptionally good job. I'm getting the new JDS labs C5 on Friday in the mail and from what I've read so far has nice clarity and treble extension with a really small form factor. How soon after getting the SM3 did you get rid of it? Most owners agree there's a brain burn-in and it takes some time to adjust to the sound signature. I was without them for a month while they were being repaired and I kind of had to get used to them again after using the ES2's the whole time they were gone.

post #14 of 17
I'm selling my sm3 v2, PM if interested
post #15 of 17
Why don't you try the ba200? Its a great value iem for $150. From what I've heard it's nearly identical to sm3 and um3x, perhaps a bit less soundstage vs the sm3
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