So there were 3 models available for auditioning on that day, the Stage 2, 3 and 4. I only tried the 3 and 4 since there were so many things to listen to on that day and my memo was already cramped by the time I checked out VE's booth. Anyway please note that the impressions below were written based solely on the demo units and we all hear things differently. I listen to female vocal most of the time so upper mids and highs are the 2 regions I pay most attention to when trying something new. To simply put it, a FitEar iem with less bass and more treble extension is perfect for me.
Opps got carried away a bit, sorry for the lengthy rant.
Stage 3: ED29689 + 2xCI(?)
The first thing came to mind was its clear, expansive soundstage and quite 3D, lifelike imaging. The Stage 3 kinda leans more toward upper mids and treble, with more emphasis on being sparkling than having good extension, something you would expect from a ED29689 based model. Though that doesn't mean its soundstage suffers from the lack of extension. In fact I found its treble very fun to listen to, with enough amount of extension and the lower treble region didn't get harsh on my ears at all, even with the Ipod Touch 4 as the source. Of course sibilance is expected with this kind of sound signature but it was tolerable. The midrange is somewhat laidback, which goes along with the expansive treble very well, making the whole presentation very airy and relaxing to listen to.
Now comes the downside, the Stage 3 doesn't have very punchy bass with weight that makes you think this iem has 2(?) woofer units. There was quite an amount of upper bass quantity, though it didn't get bloated. However due to the lack of mid and sub bass, kick drums don't have enough 'snap' and speed. Thus low frequencies' detail level is just so so, nothing in comparison with mids and highs.
Overall the Stage 3 will be good for long listening sessions without becoming tiring. Not a very fun sounding model I would say but its technicality, expansive soundstage, 3D imaging (well it's more about the width than height) are its strengths.
Stage 4: ED29689 + CI(?) + 3300
Personally I don't like the 4 compared to the 3. The Stage 4 resembles the 3 in almost all aspects, except for its mid bass and midrange. With a dual woofer added, its mid bass is bumped up significantly (or was it because of my Ipod?), overlapping the upper bass and sub bass. Well there was more sub bass for sure but it didn't catch my attention right away. That and the overly-emphasized lower mids makes the midrange kinda skewed and unrefined (at some points I thought the mids was somewhat recessed but that was so long ago and my fuzzy memories don't go along very well with the note I had from that time so you can skip this part).
The treble is more tamed compared to the Stage 3 but it still retains all the quality that its brother has. All in all I found the Stage 4 quite fun to listen to, but if I were to choose between the 2 based solely on the demos being displayed the Stage 3 would be picked in a heartbeat.
*Note about the ? driver: it looked very similar to the popular woofer CI but the marking read something-029 which didn't ring any bell so I left a question mark there if anyone wants to verify.
Edited by tranhieu - 9/19/13 at 10:46am