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What difference do number of drivers make in CIEMS?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I see a lot CIEM manufacturers showcasing their new products with number of drivers inside

 

JH Roxanne with 12 drivers

Noble Audio Kaiser with 10 drivers

JH 16 PRO with 8 drivers

Unique Melody with 6 drivers

 

Then there is

Westone ES5 sticking with 5 drivers

Sensaphonics 3MAX with 3 drivers

 

 

None of them are each cheap , all of them cost >$950 , all of them are top tier products with their own characteristics,

 

so my question is

 

1. what difference do the number of drivers make ? 

2. Do they make the CIEM better ?  If yes , why are companies like Westone & Sensaphonics sticking to jst 5/3 respectively ?

post #2 of 8
A lot of it is marketing. More drivers can be better if implemented properly but more than 3 is enough imo. You can't tell the difference just based on number of drivers. It's like quad core vs dual core etc. Two good cores can do just as well as quad core for most uses.
post #3 of 8

Usually more drivers means bigger shell size, which may make the CIEM harder to fit for people with smaller ear canal. And as other posters said, more driver may not improve the SQ, although in most cases, it did improve the SQ...

post #4 of 8
I would say it depends on the matching of the drivers and the crossovers...for instance the se535 is a 3 ba driver system but sounds as good as a 4 driver iem. All in the ba driver matching and crossovers..more doesnt exactly mean better. Also dual ba can be good for keeping a iem relatively smaller than using multiple single ba.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

That's true , I see my Westone 4R which are relatively easier to wear and sleep on my side .


Then there's monster Shure 846 which are huge compared to my Westone 4r

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by prashant View Post
 

That's true , I see my Westone 4R which are relatively easier to wear and sleep on my side .


Then there's monster Shure 846 which are huge compared to my Westone 4r

 

They're actually not very big imo.. (the 846)

post #7 of 8

All of this is subjective. Depends entirely on what you are after and what you listen to. The single BA driver FI-BA-SS from Final Audio Design (~$1200) will knock the socks off most multi-driver customs in my opinion. People enjoy single drivers for their cohesive feel for the music, and an imaging that can be clouded on some Multi-BA customs. With multiple drivers, you have to add in crossovers and more electronics in line with the music. Purists believe it messes with the music, clouding things up. 

 

It's all relative. The amount of drivers has nothing to do with quality of sound. It's just a different presentation and feel from earphone to earphone. And then there's the single dynamic drivers favored by many, and then hybrid designs with dynamic and BA drivers that are doing well right now. 

post #8 of 8

Well said, SoundFreaq and Zalithian.

 

Using 4, or 6, or 8, or 12, or (n+1) speakers to fill the (roughly) 1cc "room" between earphone and eardrum is, IMHO, obvious overkill.

 

And just to be clear, Sensaphonics considers the dual-driver 2MAX as our flagship in the custom earphone category. (Our true flagship is the 3D Active Ambient.) The triple-driver 3MAX offers more bass headroom, but the 2MAX and 2X-S are designed for reference accuracy. This is an important distinction, as we design our products for use on stage (and in other high-noise environments), with a monitor engineer providing a custom mix/EQ for each musician. In that application, starting with the truth is the preferred approach for most audio engineers. That (along with hearing health) is our sonic design focus, and always has been.

 

The need to have a "latest/greatest" model and to differentiate one's product in the marketplace is palpably real for manufacturers. Adding more drivers and/or crossovers is an obvious way to accomplish that, which is justification enough for some. In addition, higher driver counts mean those models will bubble to the top when customers compare specs. Similarly, we see specifications in categories like isolation and frequency response that are clearly inaccurate marketing-driven. There is also no doubt in my mind that extra bass drivers are sometimes used to compensate for the sonic consequences of a poor fit or easily lost seal. Sadly, this encourages louder monitoring, which has obvious long-term hearing health implications. But I digress.

 

Does increased driver count translate to improved sound quality? IMKYSHO, definitely not. Can it? Sure, but that correlates better with other design choices and implementations vs. pure body count. And as others have noted, it's all subjective.

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