.....Corecool V2 v. ATH CKS-77X v. Sony XB90EX v. JVC FXD80 v. Zero Audio Basso v. ATH CKS1000.
Corecool V2: These have that conventional "Bass" IEM sound, meaning that they have big soudstage and big bass, both sub and mid bass. The mid bass and sub bass comes through in abundance and in their stock form there might be too much mid bass for ones liking but for true bassheads these will leave a smile on their faces for sure. Despite their abundant bass quantity, it does not bleed much into the rest of the sonic frequencies. In fact I was able to mod these to tone the mid bass down quite a bit which allowed even better clarity and separation between the lows, mids, and highs. These Corecools are no doubt bass-centric IEMs, yet the mids and highs are not lacking whatsoever. The mids are more forward than the highs which makes these a non- fatiguing listen, though I would not describe the treble as "recessed" but as simply present and adequate.
ATH CKS-77X: The 77Xs is one fun sounding IEM, with big sub bass and a mild mid bass presence. Like the Corecool V2s these do not deviate from the big soundstage and big bass formula. Unlike the Corecools these 77Xs lean more towards the "audiophile bass" IEM approach in its sonic presentation. I can confidently say they have around 70 to 80% of the sound of ATH's "Solid Bass" CKS1000 flagship. Nothing really sounds recessed on the 77Xs, both the mids and highs are more forward that the Corecools, which for prolong listens can be a bit fatiguing due to their powerful forward sound. The CKS1000s and the 77Xs share a very similar sound signature and tuning but what is holding them back is simply their lack of refinement and finesse. The 77Xs tuning is not as refined as the CKS1000s due to the lack of lushness in the mids and sparkle in the treble regions. Surprisingly the 77Xs has more sub bass and mid bass quantity compared to the CKS1000s, but the quality of the sub/ mid bass on the CKS1Ks is tighter, deeper, faster and more punchy without any muddiness or boominess.
Sony XB90EX: This Sony IEM also share a lot of similarities with the previous two "Bass" centric phones, meaning that these also have a huge soundstage and big low end. Despite the bass emphasis on these 90EXs their overall sound is pretty balanced sounding to me, nothing sounds out of place or sticks out like a sore thumb because the overall sound is really coherent and cohesive. Maybe this is why they have a more audiophile grade sound to me despite their big bass. When compared to the Corecools and the 77Xs, the 90EXs are less "fun" which probably has to do with their more balanced presentation. These 90EXs have great bass quality and quantity esp. the in sub bass regions, yet the mids and highs are just forward and extended enough without ever being fatiguing, therefore their entire sound gels really well.
JVC FXD80: The FXD80s is the most "balanced" out of this entire line up. I quoted "balanced" because it's all relative when compared to the rest of these bass giants. By no means are the FXD80s bass shy. In fact its sub bass can reach pretty low when called for without adding any mid bass which can bleed into the rest of the frequencies. Similar to other JVCs carbon nanotube IEMs/ headphones the FXD80s have lots of micro details, along with lush tight, punchy and fast bass response. But also consistent with the rest of those single micro driver CNTs phones there is also a more "artificial" sound to these FXD80s. There is also very little to no mid bass warmth to these FXD80s, therefore they sound the most "analytical" and cold out of the entire lineup. Again I quoted "analytical" because they are not flat sounding whatsoever, but it could be considered more suitable as a monitoring type of IEM. Despite their open back design, the soundstage of these FXD80s is the smallest compared to the rest of the lineup and I would categorize their stage as medium-large in size, while the others are large to extra large.
Zero Audio Basso: The Bassos has a warmish bassy sound to them, but it's not overly bass heavy. There is more sub bass than mid bass, yet the minor mid bass emphasis adds that slight warmth to their sound which makes them a smoother listen compared to the rest. They also have a more light and airy sound which is pretty unique for a bass-centric IEM because it is so easy on the ears despite their big bassy sound. Unlike the Sony MH1Cs where it's almost smooth to a fault, these Bassos have great forward mids and a pretty well extended yet non-fatiguing treble. I would say these Bassos are a more suitable total and complete upgrade to the Sony MH1Cs than say the Sony XBA3s sound signature and presentation wise. Although some might still find the Bassos sound to be too smooth due to their airy and non-aggressive nature, therefore true bassheads might not be completely satisfied if one is looking for something more dynamic and in your face.
ATH CKS1000: These are the most refined "Bass" centric IEMs out of this entire lineup. To me the CKS1Ks sounds like a beefed up version of the Vsonic GR07 Bass Edition, meaning that every single aspect of GR07 BEs sound is amplified and is made slightly more in your face and aggressive. This can be good thing as well as a bad, because the CKS1Ks sounds more energetic and dynamic, hence it is also more fatiguing when compared to the GR07 BEs esp. for prolonged listening sessions. That is the only "negative" and I quoted "negative" because the slightly more aggressive nature of these CKS1Ks works effortlessly in grabbing your attention with its powerful nuanced sound. The highs on the CKS1Ks are well extended with lots of sparkle as well as a very forward and lush mid range without ever being harsh/bright or sibilant. The lows on these CKS1Ks reaches deep and is tight, fast, punchy without any boominess or muddiness whatsoever. This is truly an audiophile bass IEM done right, because nothing sounds recessed and everything is presented in one coherent and cohesive sound all wrapped together by a huge soundstage, which is why these sound so addictive.
Big THANKS to Danny and Dsnuts for allowing me to audition your lovely IEM collection. Put Your V's Up!!!
Here's an addendum to the 1st tour:
NuFroce NE-700M v. Philips Fidelio S2 v. Lethal EARSUBS 5557 v. JVC FXZ200 v. VSonic VSD1 v. VSonic GR07 BE
Edited by sfwalcer - 9/3/13 at 11:50am