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Review: InEar StageDiver Series - Page 3

post #31 of 291
Originally Posted by Deviltooth View Post

Great.  Let us know how it stacks up against your other high end universals (notably the Heirs), please.

I do not have the Heirs anymore :(

post #32 of 291
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by davidcotton View Post

I call it the headfi effect, goes something like this :-


1)Member highlights a undiscovered iem

2)Interest and demand increases

3)Company struggles to meet demand (generally being small ones)

4)interest wears off after a month or two (fotm?)

5)iems start appearing on trade board.


Something like that anyway :)


I will bet money against that. :)


Actually I will also bet money on that several companies will copy the StageDiver in design. Who's in?

post #33 of 291
Thread Starter 

I have added the SD-3 review in post #2 and also a comparison to SD-2.

post #34 of 291
Thread Starter 

I have added a comparison between SD-3 and IE800 in the second post:



SD-3 and IE800 are both very great performers, but they both have minor flaws. It’s not as easy as too bright and too warm, though. (Side note: I have adjusted both in the following. As recommended on M.R.O., I have added a filter to the IE800. I have exchanged the stock tips of SD-3 with smaller UE tips for deeper insertion. Both affect the sound quality in a good way.)


SD-3 and IE800 have approximately the same level at 40-50 Hz. Below that, the Sennheiser gives you much more rumble. The punchy bass and low-end rumble sound lively and engaging at first, but the bass keeps pounding and causes fatigue after a while. Transition into mids is very clean and leaves them uncolored. Focus lies on sub-bass only.

Though also having a lot of sub-bass, the SD-3 also boosts mid and upper bass, bleeding into mids. The bloated bass has better texture than IE800 and it does not cause any fatigue whatsoever. It is very clean and tight. It is what you’d expect from an in-ear that has two separate drivers for bass only. It is really impressive.


Mids seem very recessed with the IE800 and they fail to give you an intimate feeling with vocals. They are very clean and transparent, though, giving you great detail without being forward or distracting your attention from the music. The dip between 2-4 kHz smooths the presentation and pushes voices further back on stage, but Sennheiser managed to avoid creating a veil.

Mids with the SD-3 are very warm and are boosted from the upper bass. They are only a small step behind the bass, giving you a bass-mids focused presentation. As a result, lower mids can feel bloated. After 2 kHz, they appear a bit recessed. This results in a strong layering and sets voices apart and puts them in the first row. Vocal Jazz sounds great with the atmosphere and the warm color.


Without filter mod, highs are simply annoying with the IE800. Seriously, the mod is mandatory. But even with filter, I could not rid them off a slightly metallic and hollow sound. The highs are very precise, though. Almost artificially thin. I have noticed a strong channel imbalance between left and right in the 8-10 kHz area. This could be because of the mod. I didn’t dig further into it because it did not bother me when listening to music. Extension is great. Even at low volumes I can hear tones past 16 kHz - opposed to 15 kHz with the two StageDivers.

As a result of the warm tuning, highs appear recessed with SD-3. It is a shame, really, because the performance is great with very good extension. Decay of hi-hats and cymbals is slower than with IE800 but they also sound more natural. Needless to say, SD-3 definitely does not have any problems with sibilance or fatiguing highs.


The Sennheiser creates a really wide soundstage. I feel like I am watching a concert through a wide-angle lens. Some tones are outside of the head. All instruments and band members appear tiny. The music just feels like playing with toys. IE800 is effortless with its presentation and that is really impressive considering the great details and expansive soundstage. It matches the lightweight design perfectly.

The StageDiver has a narrower soundstage and all of the music is in your head. Depth is very impressive, though, giving an airy presentation, even though I feel like I am in the first row of a closed concert. Sadly, timbre is hurt by the very warm tuning.

post #35 of 291
Nice comparison. Lots of good info. Thanks for adding it. beerchug.gif
post #36 of 291
Excellent additional information. Many people on headfi seem to hear the IE800 the same way.
post #37 of 291
Thread Starter 

Thank you!

I haven't followed any IE800 thread so I am not sure what the consensus is.


As for the StageDiver's, personally, I prefer the SD-2. It sounds really good although the sonics don't wow me in any way. It's a 'what more do you need?' type of phone. SD-3, IE800, W4, UE900, CKW1000, etc. droped all into category 'good but special', IMO.

I have just unpacked my new RE-400 but I haven't listened to them yet. I think it should be an interesting comparison from the impressions I've read so far.

post #38 of 291

Thanks for your impressions, were a joy to read.

post #39 of 291
Is there an SD-3 analysis at M.R.O?
post #40 of 291

Not yet, but I bet many would love to read one :) He could do a special on German BA-IEM engineering (Fischer Amps FA vs StageDiver).

post #41 of 291
Thread Starter 

I saw this on Facebook, posted by InEar Kommunikationstechnik:

Für alle, die sich für unsere StageDiver Serie interessieren...
Die Einführungspreise gelten nur noch bis zum 30.06.2013!

Alle bis dahin eingegangenen Bestellungen werden noch zum aktuellen Preis ausgeliefert!


The StageDiver series will cost more starting July 1st. All orders until June 30th will still be discounted.



The new prices will be:

  • StageDiver 2: 359 €
  • StageDiver 3: 489 €

Edited by Ultrazino - 6/11/13 at 4:37am
post #42 of 291
How much are they atm?
post #43 of 291
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by davidcotton View Post

How much are they atm?


Originally Posted by Ultrazino View Post



·      MSRP: € 359 (introductory price € 329)

Originally Posted by Ultrazino View Post

·      MSRP: € 489 (introductory price € 449)

post #44 of 291

@Ultrazino: A comparison between SD-2 and Hifiman RE-400 would be nice :)

post #45 of 291
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Illum1nat0 View Post

A comparison between SD-2 and Hifiman RE-400 would be nice :)


Sorry it took me this long but everybody wanted to use my SD2 so I did not have them for a while. wink.gif


But here it is, my final comparison. This concludes both my reviews on the StageDiver series until the SD4 is available for purchase (which probably will be quite a while).


Originally Posted by Ultrazino View Post

This comparison is difficult for me as I might be overlooking an obvious explanation to what I hear. Tonality and frequency response is basically similar, but RE400 has a stronger high roll-off and has more focus on mids. Both are fairly neutral with a slight emphasis on mids.

Yet the presentation I perceive is completely different.


Extension in the lows is similar, but the sub-bass is perceived stronger with RE400 although it sounds very lightweight. The bass of the SD2 sounds much darker and realistic, although punch is a bit softer. This makes the HiFiMAN sound a bit cleaner, if artificially so.


The RE400 focuses strongly on mids, presenting them in a relaxed way. The distance to voices is bigger and thus SD2 can deliver more intimacy. Maybe due to a mild lower mid boost, voices have much more volume and body, sounding more realistic to my ears. They are not as soft as with the RE400 but never fatiguing; probably because the upper mids take a dive.


Highs are recessed with the RE400 whereas they are linear to slightly recessed (depending on tips) with the SD2. Both are very clean with even transitions and a careful peak at 10 kHz without any hints of sibilance. At lower volume the SD2 extends further. Even though the performance is very smooth, RE400 has stronger roller coaster rides making the SD2 the obviously better choice for monitoring.


Width of soundstage is comparable in size but the RE400 lacks quite a bit of depth when compared to SD2. I’d say it is similar to W4 that extends nicely from left to right, but because of the bigger distance the depth appears a bit flat. Layering is better with SD2 and I really appreciate the intimacy voices can give without being too close like with SE535. Separation is good with both but I actually might have to give RE400 an advantage for resolution. The music is tighter with very short decay, putting it up there to triple (and some quadruple) BA universals. The SD2 is slightly behind.


The RE400 is very cohesive and everything fits well together. However, bass and highs appear veiled to me and they desaturate the image. Thus, timbre is off and the overall sound reminds me of hollow wood or paper.

The great timbre and convincing soundstage is what makes the SD2 stand out. Technically, the bang-for-buck of the RE400 is crazy and the presentation definitely does not cause any sort of fatigue. But it is also worth mentioning that I have little faith in the durability of the non-replaceable cable, that no carrying pouch is included and that none of the included ear tips fitted my medium sized ear canal. The build quality of SD2 is reference quality.


The thing about RE400 is that I think the frequencies are re-produced wrongly. Say the source gives you an input of 40 Hz, the RE-400 will play that sound but the actual output is 50 or 60 Hz. The same thing happens in the highs where cymbals appear darker than in real life. The first time I noticed this issue was when I had the W4 because it made me hear tones I could not hear before. Since when can I hear a 40 Hz bass track without rumble - unless it is actually played back as 50 Hz. This is just my theory and I have never seen somebody else discuss this.


But do not fear, your mind will adjust quickly and after a few minutes you will not notice it anymore. But when doing A-B comparisons it is very obvious and my mid has zero problems adjusting to the sound of SD2 from the get-go. That is what I call good timbre!

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