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The $999 vs $99 Challenge Tour! - Page 25

post #361 of 441

Shipped to joker this morning.

post #362 of 441
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnarlsagan View Post


I appreciate the artistic merits of visual imagery, but it doesn't really translate to other people in a meaningful way. One person's serene cabin getaway is another's evil dead nightmare. tongue.gif I can think of a few iems that I'd fit into the latter category even after reading some rather beautiful prose...

It's sound. Bright, dark, warm, etched aren't really sonic descriptions either. Its always analogs and his are just a bit more fleshed out.

post #363 of 441
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post


Wow I did miss your post, as it posted while I was replying. Thanks for clarifying! I realize these comparisons take time, so I appreciate you going out of your way to answer my question. I do honestly enjoy your writing. I was a journalism major myself so can see that you have a very real talent. Something about this hobby makes me want to glean more technical info when I can. smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by gnarlsagan - 10/25/13 at 1:12pm
post #364 of 441

Wow. 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post
 

 The UERM is like being in an isolated cabin, in the middle of the forest. The forest is green, lush, and teeming with life. It's a bit overgrown, and the greenery is everywhere, life at its fullest. You can hear the animals, and the birds calling out. It's the summertime and and you live in a moderately sized log cabin in the woods. It's warm, but never repressively so - the canopy cover ensures cooler temperatures, and you rarely even break a sweat. Life is good, like is powerful, a force all around you. It's uplifting. 

 
The 3003 is in the dead of winter. All the greenery is gone, and replaced by trunks and branches of trees everywhere. Fresh, pure snow has been falling lightly for days, and a complete blanket of snow covers the ground and tree branches. In your cabin, you have a large fireplace burning wood you chopped earlier that afternoon. The fire warms your large cabin to a nice cozy and comfortable temperature as you're wrapped up in a cashmere blanket in the loveseat, soaking in the warmth of the hearth. Your cabin is filled with windows. Floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows on all sides of the cabin, and a large glass observation skylight takes up a giant space in your roof. At night, the purity of the snow gleaming in the moonlight, while content and warm, moves the soul. The dark trees, cast long, dark shadows against the brilliant white snow. White/black, cold/warmth, the emotions are heightened peacefully, filled with juxtaposition. A few bright planets and some twinkling stars that peer through, remind you of the size of the universe itself. Life is precious, life is sweet, life is pure, and it's the most beautiful creation this universe can offer. 
post #365 of 441
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnarlsagan View Post


I appreciate your input James. I mean that because one person experiences a feeling, it doesn't mean someone else will experience the same feeling. Visual imagery is useful in learning about a person and how that person experiences life, or audio in this case. But it doesn't convey how much bass the K3003 has compared to the UERM.
I hope I don't come off as close minded; I find my comments constructive in that a more literal approach will be more helpful to others in understanding how these iems compare.


I think SF's impressions were masterfully done. It's not all about numbers and graphs, music is supposed to move you after all.

 

@SoundFreaq

Nice impressions,bravo. Your little writeup made me grin ear to ear and was quite entertaining.

post #366 of 441

A poetic approach to our hobby. It is after all more subjective than not. Not just about black and white and pretty lines on a graph ;).

post #367 of 441

I'm excited for |joker|'s review; he's reviewed so many IEMs I am considering for my final purchase, and the UERM is the last one of these that he hasn't reviewed, yet the only one I have heard, so I'll be able to compare it to the others...finally...

 

 

 

 

...If they DO actually release a universal UERM for purchase, my girlfriend is going to kill me...

post #368 of 441

gnarls will get his ear full of tech talk : ) I knew that would be the case, so my goal was to provide an insightful contrast. I knew the tech talk would be covered. 

 

Excited for joker's take. He should have them by now. 

 

Edit: Just checked the tracking and a first attempt for delivery was made. So he does not have them yet. 


Edited by SoundFreaq - 10/30/13 at 8:37pm
post #369 of 441

Hi All, 

 

The UERM/TF10 should be reaching the next person on the tour now.

 

First off, big thanks to eke2k6, james444, Rin, and everyone else who made this tour happen. It’s definitely a fun little experiment and of course the UERM is something I’ve always wanted to hear, so that’s an added bonus. My brief thoughts on these units are below.

 

First impression – “man, the UERM demo unit is huge”. It’s bigger than all of the custom demos I’ve tried in the past, including those from Unique Melody, Rooth, Westone, Altec Lansing, and so on. It’s also larger than all of the custom-come-universal units I have, such as the FitEar TG334 and InEar StageDiver SD-3.

 

Surprisingly it’s not less comfortable than a Triple.Fi 10 once fitted (should be noted that I’ve never liked the fussy fit of the TF10), and sounds pretty darn good. As far as universal demos go, the best I’ve heard previously was the Rooth LS-X5 hybrid, but I think this universalized UERM might be better.

 

I was happy to compare the UERM to the customized TF10 unit to start with. I switched between two sets of identical tips on both – UE single-flanges and MEElec bi-flanges, which allow me to get a nice seal without having to force the housings partway down my ear canals.

 

On to the sound…

 

Overall, the UERM demo is a little warmer than I expected but otherwise falls right in line with what I figured it would sound like – punchy and clear, with good treble energy and a spacious presentation.

 

The TF10 unit, as tuned by Rin, is an improvement on the original tuning – more neutral, tight, and balanced, it makes the original TF10 sound boomy and veiled in the midrange. The re-tuned TF10 is truly a top-tier universal and I found it preferable to the newer UE 900.

 

Anyway, the re-tuned TF10 is also quite a good match for the UERM signature. In comparison to the UERM demo, it sounds a little thinner overall. The bass is a little more hollow and a touch lacking in texture. Depth is similar, however, which is to say rather good but not up there with something like the Hidition NT 6. Then again, the stock TF10 has good bass depth to start with. The UERM has a bit more (mid)bass and a fuller sound, but otherwise the mids between the two units are similar.

 

Tonally, the TF10 is a little brighter than the universal UERM and tends to sound a little more harsh and sibilant. The UERM is smoother and more forgiving, and its treble sounds more natural to me overall. In terms of presentation, the UERM is more well-rounded – soundstage size is similar between the two but the UERM is more convincing overall.

 

All in all, I think these two earphones are similar in sound signature and just differ here and there in minor details. Performance isn’t too far apart either, though the small variations do add up to a win for the UERM to my ears. They certainly are far closer than two earphones with such a wide cost berth should be in overall performance, but then we already know this from the dozens of other lessons in diminishing returns hi-end audio has taught us.

 

As curious as I was to compare the UERM demo to the modded TF10, I was just as interested in the UE Reference Monitor itself. Tuned in collaboration with recording artists and studio engineers, the UERM is billed as a hallmark of accuracy. I figured it would be a good match for some of my more accurate custom monitors and performed some A:B comparisons. Keep in mind that this is a universalized UERM unit. In my experience, a full-shell custom can differ a little or a lot from a universal Demo. In this case I would bank on “a little” just based on the demo unit’s performance, but who knows.

 

UERM Demo vs Unique Melody Miracle ($950)

 

The Miracle is a balanced earphone but has a laid-back and very slightly v-shaped signature. Compared to the Miracle, the UERM has more forward mids and a brighter overall tone. The treble of the UERM is a touch more metallic-sounding but the unit sometimes seems clearer than the Miracle as a result of its treble emphasis and greater midrange presence.

 

The Miracle sounds a little more refined overall. It has less midrange emphasis but generally keeps up with the UERM in clarity. Its presentation is a little more laid-back and it seems slightly more spacious overall. Most noticeably, the smoother treble of the Miracle is more tolerant of harshness and sibilance, and arguably makes the earphones a touch more natural tonally.

 

UERM Demo vs Hidition NT 6 ($1200)

 

Hidition’s reference monitor, the NT 6 is a brighter-sounding earphone with lots of aces up its sleeves. It is brighter than the UERM and a touch thinner-sounding as well. As a result, the Hidition unit seems a little clearer and more resolving. However, its triple bass drivers also provide a low end that’s more natural and filled-in. The low end of the NT 6 is more textured and deeper (although perhaps bass depth would be better with the full-shell contact of a custom UERM). In comparison, the bass of the universal UERM sounds a little hollow, albeit not lacking in punch.

 

The tone of the UERM is warmer and the mids are a little fuller and more fluid. The treble of the NT 6 is a little smoother but very similar overall until the spike at ~10k, which is what gives the NT 6 its bright character. Happily, the NT 6 is smooth in the sibilance-prone region below ~8k and overall it still comes across as sounding a touch more natural despite its brighter tone.

 

UERM Demo vs JH Audio JH13 Pro ($1099)

 

The JH13 is my favorite custom monitor but admittedly the universal UERM isn’t too far behind in overall performance. The signatures of these earphones aren’t too different – there is greater variation in soundstage and note presentation, with the UERM sounding a little more smoothed-over and “fluid” and the JH13 being more transparent and “raw”.

 

Overall, I thought the JH13 was clearer and more natural than the UERM, especially in the midrange. The UERM is smoother and tends to gloss over fine texture a bit in comparison. This continued up into the treble, where the UERM is actually a touch more forgiving of sibilance than the JH13. The largest difference, however, is in the presentation, where the UERM sounds more laid-back and out-of-the-head while the JH13 is more three-dimensional, with better depth allowing for more realistic portrayal of intimate, forward soundscapes and more convincing imaging.

 

UERM Demo vs 1964EARS V6-Stage ($699)

 

The V6-Stage is the newest flagship from Portland, OR-based 1964EARS. Signature-wise the V6-Stage is not very different from the UERM and performance is really a toss-up as well. The earphones have similar clarity with perhaps a slight advantage going to the V6 due to its thinner note presentation. As with the NT 6 comparison, the UERM has a bit more mid-bass than the V6-Stage for a fuller sound and again sounds smoother overall, partly because of the lushness afforded by its warmer signature. It is smoother up top, as well, with the V6-Stage being more prone to sibilance. On the whole, however, these two earphones are remarkable close in performance despite the price difference between them.

 

UERM Demo vs Noble 4C ($999)

 

The quad-driver, silicone-shelled Noble is different from my other “reference” custom IEMs in that its sound is more mid-centric. Sets like the JH13, UERM, V6-Stage, and even the Miracle tend to have more impactful bass and stronger, more energetic treble than the Noble. The 4C, on the other hand, almost reminds me of a HiFiMan product in the way it presents a neutral signature in a more mid-centric way. It sounds very flat, with less bass compared to the UERM and a more neutral tone. It’s an amazingly smooth earphone that makes the UERM seem a little peaky in the treble region. Tonally, the 4C makes the UERM sound colored – no small feat by any means. In comparison to the more level Noble, the UE Reference Monitor has a warmer, bassier sound and added treble energy. 

 

UERM Demo vs Ultimate Ears 900 ($399)

 

This one was a disappointment. I wasn’t expecting great things from the UE 900 compared to one of UE’s flagship customs, but even Rin’s modified TF10 held up much better than this. Frankly, next to the UERM, the UE 900 – a pretty decent earphone on its own – sounded like crap. Overall clarity was nowhere near the UERM and the bass sounded boomy and unrefined. The only thing the UE 900 had going for it here was good bass extension.

 

The upper mids, which I’ve always thought were dull and lacking in energy on the UE 900, seem especially veiled next to the UERM. The UERM is flatter through the midrange and sounds much more transparent as a result. The midrange, and vocals especially, come through much clearer. The UE 900 gets better from there – the treble and presentation really aren’t bad at all, but there is just no comparing these two in overall realism.


Edited by ljokerl - 11/20/13 at 12:54am
post #370 of 441
I have a feeling that this is as close as the world will get to that TF10 review. biggrin.gif

Great stuff.
post #371 of 441

Terrific review and comparisons, joker.  Your UERM vs JH13 notes are basically identical to how I hear them.  I've got a custom-fit UERM now.. and, going off memory of how i heard the demo, I find the custom fit version to sound more linear through the midbass and upper treble.  The custom fit UERM's upper mids still have more presence than the JH13 through that same region.. but the demo, from what I remember, was distinguishably more peaky through that region.

 

I wish you could review the original 1964 Ears V6, too.. that one actually interests me a little more than the V6 Stage, for some reason.  The freq curve looks Miracle-ish..

post #372 of 441
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
 

Hi All, ...

 

Great stuff. Considering your review backlog, I wasn't expecting anything that extensive, so thanks a lot for your time and effort!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vwinter View Post

I have a feeling that this is as close as the world will get to that TF10 review. biggrin.gif

 

Actually, the whole tour was just an elaborate scheme to trick him into that TF10 review... and it (almost) worked! :veryevil: 

post #373 of 441
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
 

Hi All, 

 

 

Woah! Thanks for making the time for this, joker. We were honestly only expecting a few sentences!

 

Added to the impressions catalog.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by james444 View Post
 

 

 

Actually, the whole tour was just an elaborate scheme to trick him into that TF10 review... and it (almost) worked! :veryevil: 

 

 

 

"And I would have gotten away with it too..."

 

2010-09-15-MeddlingSharePointKids-01_9807.png

post #374 of 441
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlySweep View Post
 

Terrific review and comparisons, joker.  Your UERM vs JH13 notes are basically identical to how I hear them.  I've got a custom-fit UERM now.. and, going off memory of how i heard the demo, I find the custom fit version to sound more linear through the midbass and upper treble.  The custom fit UERM's upper mids still have more presence than the JH13 through that same region.. but the demo, from what I remember, was distinguishably more peaky through that region.

 

I wish you could review the original 1964 Ears V6, too.. that one actually interests me a little more than the V6 Stage, for some reason.  The freq curve looks Miracle-ish..

 

That sounds very promising RE: the customized UERM. The demo is probably in my top 5 earphones already. I should try to get a customized one when I have more spare time...

 

Doubt I'll get to try the V6 and I think the Stage is more my signature anyway.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by james444 View Post
 

 

Great stuff. Considering your review backlog, I wasn't expecting anything that extensive, so thanks a lot for your time and effort!

 

 

Actually, the whole tour was just an elaborate scheme to trick him into that TF10 review... and it (almost) worked! :veryevil: 

 

It did - I dug up my TF10 for the first time since I did the UE900 review in the spring. It'll take a few weeks to get buried again :o 

 

And thank you again, James, for the loan! 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

 

Woah! Thanks for making the time for this, joker. We were honestly only expecting a few sentences!

 

Added to the impressions catalog.

 

Thanks for including me :beerchug: 

post #375 of 441

hey guys~ I wan't reading any post cuz I wanted to judge tfrm & UERM as neutral as possible. 

Cuz of that I kind of lost in track who is on the next.

 

I would love to read all the reviews once I got my hands on them!!

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