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Astrotec AX60 | Thoughts, Reviews, and Tour Impressions - Page 8

post #106 of 126
Thread Starter 

Sorry for the huge stagnation in the tour... I'd originally stipulated two weeks per person, but it seems to be two months per person! :eek:


I've been negligent about following up with tour members, unfortunately...


However, tour progress has been updated:


post #107 of 126

I received the tour set yesterday.  It's the grey set and they look pretty nice.  I like the feel of the cable- very flexible and thin but seems sturdy, like a cross between the SE846 and GR07 mk2 cable.  I  have not had a problem with fit but I can see some having issue with the housings, especially the design around the cable exit from the housings.


Unfortunately anything nice I have to say ends there.  The treble is pretty tizzy, razor thin and full of sibilance. I feel like I'm under the cymbal when the drummer hit it, except it doesn't really sound like a cymbal. Vocals are distant lacking intimacy and overall instrument realism is lacking.  In no way does it sound like the same phone that is producing the bass.  Isolated by itself, the bass is quite nice and the boost doesn't bother me, however it doesn't seem to keep up with the rest of the signature.  Music feels like it's tripping over itself to keep up.  This isn't from excessive decay, the bass driver itself doesn't sound slow.  The only hybrid I've heard more off putting is the T-Peos H-100, which had an even deeper sounding V signature. 


I thought maybe a different filter will sound better to me, so I put the second set on and it sounds exactly the same.  In fact they look the same.  I held them up to light, flipped them around, squinted, blinked...yep they are the same.  I don't see any filtering material, just the metal screens.


Too bad about the sound b/c they look really good and seem well built for the price point. 

post #108 of 126
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

I have finally, finally finished my review of the AX60. I went shorter (maybe not sweeter) than usual. I hope it is helpful. I've come up with a bit more porridge than I had at first for a few simple reasons.

Overall, it remains one of my favourite earphones for its sound- at least when I can get that fit stays and is tight. The paint on my blue model is rubbing away. The fit is poor. But the sound is so damn impressive for what it is. Very very good. I digs it. 

Exactly how I heard them! Great review mate!
post #109 of 126

If it were a more comfortable IEM, it would be in my inventory, and a definite favourite. 

post #110 of 126
Originally Posted by White Lotus View Post

If it were a more comfortable IEM, it would be in my inventory, and a definite favourite. 

Agreed, if they could just lift the tonality a fraction cooler I would of bought them.
post #111 of 126
Things haven't gotten any better. I find the treble very tinny with abundance of annoying sibilance and end up immediately taking them out of my ears each time I try to give it another chance. Unfortunately I find the tuning quite poor and this is not an iem I can recommend. I'll be contacting jant71 as the next member of the tour.
post #112 of 126

Hmm, thanks I think :wink:. I'm pretty treble tolerant so maybe I can handle it. My last purchase was a Vsonic UU2 and the treble on those is ungodly ear ravaging esp. if you give any decent volume. Silver cable and no plastic grill or rubber caps. Great tuning decisions some of the Chinese makers go with :confused:. With rubber caps, foams, and some heavy paper I can tame it. looks like I may just have to go to the bag o' tricks again :)


Actually forgot about this tour, lol!

post #113 of 126

Got them in this afternoon and time for some instant, off the cuff impressions...



The filter holder is thick and needlessly heavy. Why do you have to screw the filters in? The round tin's lid  doesn't screw in. Should be opposite and the filters wedge into some small rubber ring(easier than screwing the little things in) and the round tin should screw in too stay closed more securely.


The cable is kinda thin especially after the Y. Thought it would be thicker. Filters have the stamped metal screens which are not as nice as a better woven mesh metals screens I've had and I don't trust that they might not have a negative effect on the SQ. 


The cases are nice. just wish the round tin would screw in or have the rubber wedge ring so it would be more secure and quiet.


Just a slight bit underwhelmed at the build and accessories for the price they go for. Seen better and worse. 


Early Sound:

I think shotgunshane said he couldn't hear the different between the filters but I can. With the tips that came on them it was sizzly and more sizzly, lol! I went to the less offensive filters and changed to my Grado bi-flange tips(same as the big Hi-fiman bi-flanges) and that first try tamed them into a more listenable experience. Theses will need the right or things will go wrong quick it seems.


The driver coherency isn't much of an issue. Not perfect but quite good. Bass does reach low with a good tight snap and keeps good speed with the armatures. Good size stage, nice layering and interweaving of instruments. Kinda filled in sounding and though a good size stage the airiness is good but not great at this point. More testing of course needed and an amp would help this most likely. 


I had two amps at the start of this tour but none atm but plugging into more powerful devices helps them sound a bit more smooth and open. Not hard to think these can use a good warm smooth sounding amp and be just fine. So, early on I am more fine with them than the last person on the tour :etysmile:. More tip rolling and testing and such is in order as they have spent an hour with me at present.


I usually agree with Shigzeo and it sounds like he likes these better than the SA7 and I might agree. A quick A/B versus my Gratitude just on one source yields a draw and the sound is surprisingly close for the most part. Both are better than the SA7. Gratitude all comes together with the CKP200 tips and a not too deep fit. They have a bit more forward vocals, less mid-bass, and smoother, less sizzly treble though the extension and emphasis is the same in both directions. My early impression is that the armatures give a little more detail and the AX60 is a bit more textured as well but I wouldn't have an urge purchase the AX60 at this point anyway as I like them as much as what I have now so no need. First snapshot impression which is certainly subject to change. So, far I like them better than I thought I would so far.


Interesting to see how much my first impression will change as the week progresses :popcorn:

Edited by jant71 - 3/30/14 at 11:11am
post #114 of 126

These tips, more newer Audio-Technica tips(from the CLR100) on the AX60. These tips were the best for the XBA40 and give a nice sound in a similar way than the CKP200 tips but not quite the same voicing due to slightly different shape, bore size, and,silicone material(less shiny glossy and a bit softer). Just shows the right tips can make these sing. Less Gratitude and more like a better sounding MA750 now. The bass amount is greater and more linear with a more even mid-bass, the sound is more upfront and intimate but the depth reaches the same as before. This and the more even mid-bass brings the vocals up front and more of a focus. Treble has less sizzle and a more natural metallic shimmer though the AX60 still has more sizzle than I think it should. More fun, likeable, more smooth, and an easier listen.


These, like the XBA40, would seem to go in the category of very tip/fit dependent and can go really wrong like with shotgunshane but they can sound quite sweet.They don't have the impedance issue like the Sony phones so they are easier to get right, IME. Obviously, since I haven't had them very long vs. when I had the Sony.

Edited by jant71 - 3/24/14 at 4:05pm
post #115 of 126

My experience with the Astrotec AX60:


At this point in the tour the AX60 needs no introduction. Astrotec's first higher end earphone. Their first hybrid. Producing a triple driver hybrid first and duals second is interesting and seemed that they wanted to beat competition such as Vsonic and DUNU to the market. They got theirs out early but would they have been better off taking their time? They did garner the "they just copied the K3003" label and by now it is obvious that this phone doesn't have perfect tuning and maybe more time could have resulted in better choices in this regard.







I find the build very good. For the price I could expect better or worse. Just doesn't excite me that much. Not as good as say the $120 RHA MA750 which has a three year warranty and is quite well done. It is better than say the SM3, which was the same $299 that the AX60 currently goes for when I purchased it. Enough metal in the construction. A good but slightly thinner TPE cable. Nothing wrong with thin. It allows a smaller case and helps with microphonics and comfort being lighter. Can't be sure how long it will last with a brief loan so durability can't be determined. Some people will lower the mark for not having a replaceable cable for the $300 price tag. 



The cases are quite nice. I do wish the accessory tin had a wedge ring on it. The tips and ear guides are pretty generic and the chosen tips, IME, aren't the best choice for optimal sound.



Fit is subjective but for me they fit well. Better for over the ear than straight down but workable for both. The AX60 housings are smaller than I thought they would be due to the cable routing arm that protrudes out the side of them. This can get in the way a bit with wearing them straight down and lends to a shallower fit in general. Again, with my particular ears which are medium sized for the most part.



These are tunable earphones but more limited then some offerings like my previous SA7 which has more than two options for both bass and treble tuning. One option is more reference which brings brighter treble, a tighter more airy bass, and leaner vocals. There is also a bass filter that tames some treble making them less bright and thickens the bass and mids and generally fills in or compresses the presentation a bit as it loses some air around things and the mids become a bit more thick and lush.


I hear both tunings as having better balance than I expected. Problem is the tuning of the TWFK for the most part. Seems they took the AX7 implementation and kept it. I remember Joker not liking they way the high end was too present and prone to sibilance regardless of tuning filter. I hear the same peak or peaks in the treble mentioned by Joker and earlier in this thread. Obviously more offensive with the brighter filter making it unusable for me. This means the bass will not get the better articulation and improvement in air/space of that filter. How bad these peaks bother someone will vary with gear and personal treble tolerance. I get along better than with them than the previous spot on the tour :) The TWFK is said to be tuned by Knowles but not done as well as other implementations we seen. I think the problem stems from the design which lacks the true Knowles dampers cause they won't work with the armatures being placed in front of the dynamic and the wider tube and dampers would not allow pass through for the dynamic unless the outer sound bore diameter was increased. A change in the design here could have fixed this, the biggest flaw I find with the AX60. Some DIY with tiny pieces of earbud foam placed in the tube can fix this if one is so able and desiring. Other fixes of course are quality EQ and tip rolling. YMMV!!


If you can get the treble right it is still more on the metallic side but well extended, clean, nicely separated and detailed. Nice treble for the price when fixed but lacks the true extension, airiness, and smoothness of truly high end treble performance. Also the metallic nature and peakiness, unless fixed right, make the coherence of the two driver types less than ideal for a golden ears such as myself.


Another problem is with the bass. I really thought the armatures in front of the dynamic would make the AX60 flawed in the lows. I was wrong. The issue is more the stock tips which seem to try to smooth treble peaks but don't do the bass justice. I've found my CLR100 tips improve the bass and smooth the treble fairly well. I've found that large Monster Gratitude stock tips don't smooth the treble quite as well but show what the bass and mids can do and that the construction need not hurt bass performance. Bass is well extended, nicely blended in(pretty decent 3D imaging down low), has very nice texture and a natural tone. The bass filter gives more bass emphasis and it is thickened but in is very even and can stay out of the mids quite well. The bass reaches quite low and is positioned very accurately(surprisingly so for this filter) within the stage. Can't get the best out of it due to not being able to use the cleaner sounding plate. Bass to mids transition with the Gratitude tips is seamless, even, and coherent but this will make the tone of the armatures stand out unless they are corrected adequately.


The mids/vocals are fairly lush and smooth and very legible. Well separated and even up right with the bass on the bassier plate with the right tips. Not even a shallow U to my ears and quality-wise as good as anything the AX60 does. You can have either the bad tips that muck the bass hurting the mids quality or the sibilance inducing tendencies from the peaky treble hurting the mids. Potentially excellent mids with a big sibilance caveat at least.    


Outside of tip induced bass bumps or humps and terrifying treble peaks that need attention, the AX60 is capable. It is a large sounding phone that has a good stage in all dimensions. Good width, height, and depth and is pretty circular in shape with a nice enough 3D image with the thicker sounding filter. Very good extension in both directions, very even tonal balance as well to my ears. Nice detail and texture. Dynamics are a smidge better than I thought they would be(even unamped) and could be a bit better if I could use the brighter filter. They fare better at not getting bogged down than the SM3 that I mentioned earlier. They AX60 fare better in this regard with more juice as well since they open up and "breathe" better.   


In Conclusion:

I like the AX60. May need the right tips, gear, and/or a tweak to steer them to their best but they are technically capable and enjoyable enough to justify their price point. For a first time higher level offering, a first hybrid, and possibly somewhat of a rush job they didn't do too badly. I've seen worse first offerings in the same tier of earphones in the past. A couple of better choices and I would deem them really very good! The AX60's flaws can also be dealt with if you really want to. Point is that many of us don't want to shell out $300 and still have to fix or tweak things. At the time of this writing though they can't be put high on the recommend list with the latest competition available or soon to be available like the DN2000, H3, H-300, etc. but, to me, it shows that Astrotec are a serious player and their next big offering has some promise and is worthy of keeping an eye to see how it turns out.

Edited by jant71 - 3/31/14 at 12:20pm
post #116 of 126

Great review mate!

post #117 of 126

Thanks WL! One of the later ones on the tour meaning I have no K3003 or hybrids but tomscy2000 was gracious enough to PM and offer me a spot on the tour. Only my second hybrid outside of the Super.fi 5 EB I had a fairly long time ago. Tomscy did a great job of introducing them and I didn't have the others like the K3003 to compare with so I wanted to just give some thoughts about what Astrotec did with them on a clean slate separate from other hybrid influences :)


I also should have mentioned adding impedance as another method to calm the high peaks. Need 100 Ohm at least to really smooth them. 75 Ohm starts to smooth them but only gets halfway there. Of course that may necessitate feeding them more power.


Made the arrangements but I still have some time with them before they move to their next stop. So, if anyone questions or anything feel free to ask.

Edited by jant71 - 4/2/14 at 1:19pm
post #118 of 126
Thread Starter 

Thanks jant71 for the detailed impressions --- the second post has been updated with links to members' thoughts.


I've been pretty negligent about keeping this tour going smoothly, so I apologize for that, but I'm glad it's still moving along.

post #119 of 126
Nice review, Jan71!

Thanks so much to Tomscy2000 for a chance to be part of the tour.

Head-fi seems to have eaten my original post, but I'll give a very concise version.

The bass filters were on when I first received the ax-60. The sound was very veiled.

I quickly replaced these with the other filters and gave these earphones a good listen.

The ax-60 are really very far below what I remember of the k3003's quality. The sound is not very detailed, and although the bass has good body and dynamics, it's not a standout. The treble has some lower treble snap, again not a standout. The midrange is uninspired. These earphones are fairly mediocre. I would pass on them.
post #120 of 126

Still deciding between these or the Dunu DN-1000, I listen to rock, and a little bit of metal, not sure if these type of earphones are an over kill for listening to music on my phone. Also how is the fit of these for people with really tiny ears? 

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