Decided to check out a pair of the Heaven IIs. Aways wanted a pair of FADs but not willing to pay the high prices. Looking forward. Any more impressions?
Review: Final Audio Design Heaven II - Page 2
So I received the FAD Heaven IIs today (I paid $118 shipped via Amazon, using a small credit to bring the price down a bit). Out of the box, no run-in, they sounded fine but a bit of graininess in the mids/highs. Not quite sibilance, but something bothering me about the sound. As is the case with most IEMs, my first move was to try an assortment of different tips. I felt the graininess might be cured/diminished with a deeper tip, since the stock tips were all single flange silicones. In the past, if I experience any harshness, it's usually diminished or eliminated with a deeper insertion tip. Just my individual case, but for me it just seems to work.
I dug into my tip reserves and found a bi-flange black pair I got from where I don't know, but they had more of a rounded smaller flange (rather than flat as other bi-flanges are designed). Inserted them a using my single test tract (Holly Cole's cover of the Tom Waits classic Jersey Girl) and graininess be gone. This is with the iPod Classic 160GB and C&C BH amp, with the hi gain on and the SF switch on (soundfield effect), but I turned off the LF switch (which enhances bass and treble somewhat). Holly never sounded so good. The mids smoothed out, nothing offensive about the sound at all. Very very nice. And the bass was detailed, and just the right amount (the song has a very strong acoustic bass line).
I compared the Heaven II with three other IEMs, one which I have been using for months (the Miles Davis Trumpet) and two I just got (LG Quadbeat II, $30 and the Westone W3s, $175).
The Heaven IIs fared very well against the Trumpets, in fact I prefer the more mid-forward Heaven II sound, as the Trumpets, which I use exclusively with my iPhone 5 (no EQ), sounded a bit muddy bass-wise by comparison. Not that they disappointed me, not at all. With the iPhone 5, they sound great. And they will still be used in that way on the go.
Compared to the Quadbeats II, it was close (the Quadbeats are a very nice $30 headphone and scale up nicely with the iPod/amp setup), but the mids and treble on the Quadbeats was nowhere near as smooth as the Heaven IIs. But not light years difference either, though the price difference of $80 is worth it to me in terms of not having to deal with the mid/treble difference. I also changed the stock tips on the LGs, going with a larger opening single flange that look like old UE tips.
Finally, while the price comparison may not be quite fair (the W3s are only $175 because Westone seems to be selling out the stock. I got them via Amazon's Warehouse Deals for $165 plus tax, but they have been $250+ for a long time (based on my reading the HF threads).
Honestly, the W3s are my preferred of the four, but only if I use the dreaded treble EQ on the iPod Classic. Otherwise, the bass seems a bit overwhelming on the W3s compared to the other phones here. With the bass cut back (or treble boosted, take your pick), the W3s are excellent phones. The EQ effect balances them out more, and their mids and highs are very nice, never harsh to me). I also prefer the form/design of the Westones, mainly because they are built for over the year, while the other three are not.
I say the W3 is preferred, but they are very different sounding than the Heaven's so I want to change that thought. The Heaven IIs are on par with the W3s, depending on the musical genre and/or listening mood I happen to be it (I did some more comparison listening with tracks other then Jersey Girl).
Anyway, for $120 or so, the OP is dead on ... FAD delivers a very winning headphone, as long as you are not adverse to tip rolling. Isn't it odd how so many of the stock tips end up in the tip reserve? Also, this is just my deal, may not apply to others trying the Heaven II.
But I also agree, the Heaven IIs do really cotton to an amp, and my setup is pretty modest yet it made a difference.
I think I will keep all three of these new phones (W3, Heaven II and LG Quadbeat II), though I may end up giving away the LGs to a friend or family member in the long run.
Thanks for this thread. I always wanted to try FAD, but just can't bring myself to spend #300+ on in-ear phones. Since you rate the IIs so close to the V or VI, I am happy with these.
Almost forgot, the Heaven IIs require a shirt clip in my view. Over the ear, they are great. But I am not a slider fan, so I just dug out a shirt clip and it works fine.
Edited by mymymyopie - 12/6/13 at 1:32pm
With the heaven II sample I only got M single flange tips.
Its amazing how much these improve with an amp though.
Sound differences? I moved from the Sony hybrids to some Complys I had around here, and I think I prefer the foam tips. I won't invest in custom tips, too expensive. But the Heaven IIs sound great, still.
Edited by mymymyopie - 12/12/13 at 1:09pm
The problem with the heaven 2 is the comfort, i have to push them quite deep into my ear. and play around with the angle to get the best sound of it. Completely understand with your custom tips solution.