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Changed title: SM64, or EX1000, or RE272 for a Senns HD800 fanboy?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

I want to get as close to HD800's sound as possible... It's neutrality from the bottom to the top, separation, imaging and expansive soundstage with incredible width and depth. I understand that IEMs are different from full-size, of course, but there are IEMs that are offer the best in terms of 3D presentation :-)

 

What is the best one available for me among universal IEMs (for soundstage + near-to-neutral sound signature)? I should mention that I do not require isolation or extreme comfort... Just pure sound quality.


Edited by RustA - 4/23/13 at 11:12am
post #2 of 33

Well the Ultimate Ears In-Ear Reference Monitor (UERM) comes to mind, of course, if you ask for "neutrality from the bottom to the top, separation, imaging and expansive soundstage with incredible width". It's really the best I've heard in that regard. The only "flaw" would be the lacking depth because the whole presentation is pretty distant and thus the soundstage was very broad but also flat. At least with the demo pair I had.

 

The neutral In-Ear that impressed me most for soundstage is the ex-Compact Monitors /Rhines Customs Stage 3. It's very neutral with the best and most 3D presentation I have heard so far.

post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrazino View Post

Well the Ultimate Ears In-Ear Reference Monitor (UERM) comes to mind, of course, if you ask for "neutrality from the bottom to the top, separation, imaging and expansive soundstage with incredible width". It's really the best I've heard in that regard. The only "flaw" would be the lacking depth because the whole presentation is pretty distant and thus the soundstage was very broad but also flat. At least with the demo pair I had.

 

The neutral In-Ear that impressed me most for soundstage is the ex-Compact Monitors /Rhines Customs Stage 3. It's very neutral with the best and most 3D presentation I have heard so far.

 

Both these are custom IEM, don't they? I am searching for an universal IEM because of resale value, versatility (I want them to be used by my girlfriend as well) etc.

post #4 of 33

Forget the Earsonics SM3. The SM64 would suit you a lot better :)

post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by RustA View Post

Both these are custom IEM, don't they? I am searching for an universal IEM because of resale value, versatility (I want them to be used by my girlfriend as well) etc.

 

I didn't see this requirement in your original post and if you talk about soundstage, there is no universal that can beat a custom.

 

After demoing quite a few customs, I really cannot recommend any IEM for what you are asking.

post #6 of 33

it depends. the ex1000 has a noticable larger soundstage and more spacious sounding than any custom i know (whole stage series and ue11 pro. maybe others do a better job in soundstage.)

post #7 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sofastreamer View Post

it depends. the ex1000 has a noticable larger soundstage and more spacious sounding than any custom i know (whole stage series and ue11 pro. maybe others do a better job in soundstage.)

 

Title changed in order to finally find out the answer among those three: SM64, EX1000 and RE272... smily_headphones1.gif

post #8 of 33
ex1000 for sure
post #9 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sofastreamer View Post

ex1000 for sure

 

Could you explain in detail please...? That could be EXTREMELY helpful since I already discussed this with one experienced head-fier and also went through extensive reviews... But cannot find out much about SM64 (I mean reliable info and comparisons with other great IEMs). =/

post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by RustA View Post

 

Title changed in order to finally find out the answer among those three: SM64, EX1000 and RE272... smily_headphones1.gif

 

I know you're specifically asking about those 3 IEMs, but just as an FYI, the AKG K3003 (universal IEM) according to several owners, including myself, sounds very, very close to the HD800 — the only trouble is it costs as much as the HD800 ($1,300 in the USA, £1,000 in the UK & 1,200€ in the rest of the UE).

The K3003 comes with 3 different filters — seems most of those who have found very close sonic similarities between the HD800 and the K3003 prefer the "reference" filter (the others are called "high boost" & "bass boost" filters); most don't care for the "bass" filter but some do prefer the "high boost" over the "reference" one. There are two models, the K3003i with a remote/mic unit (for i-devices) and the K3003 (no mic/remote). I prefer the latter but it's harder to source and you may need to contact AKG directly to get a pair unless you're based in Singapore (and possibly Hong Kong), where they stock both models.

Here's a K3003 thread with several reviews and impressions: http://www.head-fi.org/t/610145/akg-k3003-impressions-reviews-discussion


Edited by music_4321 - 4/23/13 at 11:42am
post #11 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post

 

I know you're specifically asking about those 3 IEMs, but just as an FYI, the AKG K3003 (universal IEM), and according to several owners, including myself, sounds very, very close to the HD800 — the only trouble is it costs as much as the HD800 ($1,300 in the USA, £1,000 in the UK & 1,200€ in the rest of the UE).

The K3003 comes with 3 different filters — seems most of those who have found very close sonic similarities between the HD800 and the K3003 preferred the "reference" filter (the others are called "high boost" & "bass boost" filters. Most didn't care for the "bass" filter but some do prefer the "high boost" over the "reference" one). There are two models, the K3003i with a remote/mic unit (for i-devices) and the K3003 (no mic/remote). I prefer the latter but it's harder to source and you may need to contact AKG directly to get a pair unless you're based in Singapore (and possibly Hong Kong), where they stock both models.

Here's a K3003 thread with several reviews and impressions: http://www.head-fi.org/t/610145/akg-k3003-impressions-reviews-discussion

 

I've had a look at the K3003 to be honest... As I said, I discussed about this topic a lot and also seen reviews, saw innerfidelity's measurement for K3003.

 

I agree that K3003 with the reference filter should be close to HD800... That said, the price of these is definitely what keeps me away. I've paid around 1200USD for new HD800 and definitely not gonna spend more for IEMs until I realise that IEMs are the way to go for me over full-size headphones. Another thing that is not convincing is the actual measurement of K3003 on innerfidelity - for the price, it's actually quite disappointing.

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AKGK3003ReferenceFilter.pdf

 

(not to say that EX1000 measure ideally but these can be had for 4x less, of course...)

 

To sum up:

 

RE272 - should be a pretty balanced IEM with neutrality, imaging, separation, soundstage, even comfort... just a pretty good IEM with literally no flaw

EX1000 - extreme soundstage with reasonably neutral signature, some manufacturing variance occurs (treble response differ with different pairs) and that's quite difficult to get over

SM64 - should have a bit forward mids (maybe singificantly?) with quality bass and treble, in general near to EX1000 in terms of overall sound signature.. soundstage should be great... but how great in comparison to EX1000? And are these really close-to-neutral, or rather coloured?


Edited by RustA - 4/23/13 at 11:49am
post #12 of 33
^^
I won't discuss the Inner Fidelity FR graph, but I'll just say that for quite sometime I've been questioning the accuracy of FR graphs for IEMs (not for full-sized headphones), and not just the FR graph for the K3003 — it's a complex subject. BUT, since these are way too expensive for you, even less necessary to elaborate (this is also not the right place to do so), but don't dismiss the K3003s (or other IEMs) simply by looking at the IF (or other) graph/s — your ears would have to be the judge of that. FWIW, I know 5-6 different K3003 & HD800 owners who seem to hear these two phones very, very close to one another.
 
EDIT: I think you should also consider the Sony MDR-7550 (aka EX800ST), cheaper than the EX1000 and a better all-rounder (also made in Japan).

Edited by music_4321 - 4/23/13 at 12:07pm
post #13 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post

 

EDIT: I think you should also consider the Sony MDR-7550 (aka EX800ST), cheaper than the EX1000 and a better all-rounder (also made in Japan).

 

I see... How good their soundstage is in comparison to EX1000? And better all-rounder = nearer to neutral?

post #14 of 33

Good point. At their current price (149 euros at http://www.session.de/Sony-MDR-7550-Stage.html?listtype=search&searchparam=sony%20mdr-7550) the MDR-7550 are by far the best value out of those IEMs. And in my opinion the single best IEM deal out there right now. They have more genre bandwidth than the EX-1000, but in the end aren´t as open sounding. The soundstage is more reigned in and there is a clear lack of air compared to the EX-1000. That said, they are less sibilant and can be used for contemporary mainstream music a lot better than the EX-1000.

 

However if the HD 800 is your reference, my guess is that you value a combination of soundstage width (depth is of secondary importance, yet important too), extreme frequency extension in both directions and unforgiving clarity above everything else. My first advice would be to look outside the Sennheiser IEM range - their tuning have very little in common with the HD 800. I haven´t heard an IEM that I could honestly say is close to the HD 800, but the EX-1000 is the nearest I´ve heard so far. My IEM experience is quite limited though, never heard the AKG K3003/Earsonics SM64 for example. They might be a better choice, I don´t know...

 

RustA: I own both the EX-1000 and MDR-7550. MDR 7550 is a better all-rounder due to being more forgiving/more rolled off in the highs. Records with too much treble/loudness are easier to listen, less fatiguing. MDR-7550 have a traditional stage monitor tuning. To my ears the EX-1000 is more neutral. Better high frequency extension.


Edited by vrln - 4/23/13 at 1:21pm
post #15 of 33

According to Audiowood, the soundstage of the EX1000 is like 5% better than the SM64.
 

Overall, the SM64 seem to sound a bit darker than the EX1000.

I only listened to the HD800 for like 20 minutes so I can't really compare them to my SM64, but I have to say that I LOVE them for any kind of metal. I'm mainly listening to metal (yes, also that nice technical stuff like Braindrill, Origin, Atheist, Ne Obliviscaris and so on) and I think that I can't be more happy with the soundsignature of the SM64. Fits metal very nice with the forward mids, the punchy bass and that glorious treble :)
You can definitely call the SM64 "coloured", but in a way that benefits rock and metal. Jazz and classic also sound great, btw.

I have to admit that this is a pretty hard decision you have to make here :D Very close race.

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