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D marc0's Journal: My Head-fi Journey (NEW: OPPO PM-3 and Audeze EL-8 Open first impressions!) - Page 37

post #541 of 554
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel4IEM View Post
 

Just got mine today and while I LOVE the sound I am a bit disappointed in the fit- shallow depth does in fact limit the seal/isolation. I did order some size large 'isolation' complys but wonder whether it will make  real difference or not as they can't extend the depth of fit by much, if any. Worth even opening the $20 package? Not sure I'll keep these if I can't resolve the isolation. I'm also going to try the DUNU DN-2000....


do some tip rolling mate

 

I probably have one of the biggest/deepest ears in HF and I don't have any problem whatsoever, I settled on the large UE silicone

post #542 of 554
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daniel4IEM View Post
 

Just got mine today and while I LOVE the sound I am a bit disappointed in the fit- shallow depth does in fact limit the seal/isolation. I did order some size large 'isolation' complys but wonder whether it will make  real difference or not as they can't extend the depth of fit by much, if any. Worth even opening the $20 package? Not sure I'll keep these if I can't resolve the isolation. I'm also going to try the DUNU DN-2000....

 



I think a problem with A83 owners is (not necessarily yourself) many new owners are used to shoving an IEM deep as they can into their ear canal. Its natural to do this by default, to achieve the deepest / tightest seal possible, but with A83 they simply don't have nozzle reach to do this and will cause nothing but frustration wanting to reverse back outwards as the housing hits your ear..

So what people need to do is come in from a different angle, throw all that 'deep insertion' business out the window and start fresh with a different approach and Its a sacrifice of lower isolation.

I've written a little guide here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/725161/fidue-a83-impressions-and-discussion-thread/465#post_11020535


And it's tips like this that will do that job nicely.

http://www.lunashops.com/search.php?encode=YTo0OntzOjg6ImtleXdvcmRzIjtzOjk6InRmMTAgdGlwcyI7czoxOiJ4IjtzOjE6IjAiO3M6MToieSI7czoxOiIwIjtzOjE4OiJzZWFyY2hfZW5jb2RlX3RpbWUiO2k6MTQxNzc0Njg0NTt9


Edited by H20Fidelity - 12/4/14 at 6:45pm
post #543 of 554
Thanks for all the advice. Agreed that it's mostly a question of what you are used to in terms of fit and sdjsuted expectations. Will see if I can get used to the seal in outer canal and try the DN-2000 as well.
post #544 of 554

I started using silicon tips on the Fidue because I got a Pono as a gift and the Complys took away detail in the upper end (not so much of a problem with the X5).  The silicons brought it right back.  This is a great item, especially for the price.

post #545 of 554
Thread Starter 

FiiO X1 Hi-Res DAP Review

 

 

 

Introduction

 

I exclusively use a Colorfly C3 for serious listening but it doesn't have the proper user interface for on-the-go usage. Browsing through the music library is so tedious that it takes away the enjoyment in my experience. As a result, I resorted back to the iPod Touch whenever I travel because it's just so much easier to use and the audio quality is quite decent. Everything seems to work for me but there are times when I wanted to share my experience with high fidelity music to a friend but I couldn't because all my high resolution files are back home. I managed to install the Accudio App on the iPod Touch allowing it to play FLAC which is a good work around but it's still not the solution I need. I need a portable digital audio player that can provide a user-friendly UI, versatile storage capacity, and great audio quality. Unfortunately, the DAPs that can satisfy my needs are out of my affordability range. 

 

Then came the FiiO X1 and this may just be the one that I need. It measures 96 x 56.7 x 14.1 mm and weighs only 106 grams which makes a decent portable solution. The best thing is it costs just merely US$99! That’s far cheaper than many of the high resolution portable music players out there! It can play most types of music files including FLAC and ALAC up to 192kHz/24-bit resolution. Although it doesn't have onboard memory, there's a card slot for a microSD that can support up to 128GB of storage. Specs-wise, the X1 is also capable of driving power hungry headphones. So on paper, the FiiO X1 is a highly capable music player that can deliver the goods without breaking your bank. The only questions left for me are the User Interface and Audio Quality... fortunately, FiiO has organised a review tour and I got the chance to review the FiiO X1 to confirm my expectations.

 

 

 

Design and features

 

The X1 is available in silver and champagne (gold), and comes with a black silicone case to help protect the device from scratches and bumps. Much like the Fiio X5, the X1 has the same basic design that reminds me of the classic iPod. It has aluminium body with a large scroll wheel and a few buttons at the front and side for added functionality.  Altogether, a well constructed simple design without compromising aesthetics.

 

The X1 features a 2-inch, 320 x 240 pixels LCD; not the brightest and clearest of screens but it does the job well for indoor use. Direct sunlight legibility can be a problem but it can be overcome by changing the background theme.

 

As a storage option, the microSD slot is a great feature especially if you have a massive music library. Files can be transferred via the USB cable interface and managed in folders through any basic file explorer in your computer. Otherwise, a memory card reader can be used which is just as easy for any computer user.

 

Navigation via the scroll wheel is very reminiscent of the classic iPods and that's a relief! Not as smooth as the premium Apple mechanism but it still does the job really well. My only gripe is the lack of fast scrolling which can improve the efficiency when browsing through hundreds of entries.

 

Other features include playlist and track info support, equaliser, and many more... more than you could ever ask for from a high resolution music player in this price range. There is one other feature that is worth mentioning and that is the line out feature making the X1 a perfect companion for any amp. I just wish there was a shortcut button to toggle between line out and headphone out instead of going through the menu system which takes time. Other than that, the user interface is better than I expected from a budget player. FiiO claims 11 hours on a single charge and takes just under four hours to fully charge. From my experience, the X1 delivers as promised and is more than enough for my daily needs. Heavy users need not to worry as USB access is quite common nowadays.

 

 

 

Sound

 

Now for the most important question... how's the sound? 

 

The FiiO X1 as a standalone player sounds ok through the headphone out although there's an audible hiss when pairing it directly with super sensitive IEMs such as the Noble 4. Other pairings seem to be "black" silent especially full-sized headphones so it shouldn't be a worry for most users. There's a bit of warmth in the lower frequency with decent texture and extension down to the sub bass region. The midrange is quite natural sounding with great detail retrieval. Going up the high frequency, there seems to be a lack of "air" but nothing too drastic to my ears although I did notice a lack in refinement and articulation. This shortcoming tends to affect the overall presentation and at times complex tracks can sound a bit congested and less articulate in the upper frequency. The soundstage width is not as wide as I'd normally like. Fortunately, the impressive depth and height make up for the lack in width. Compared to the iPod Touch 5th Gen, the X1 does better in projecting a more 3D image but lags behind in overall refinement and clarity. Personally I prefer the iPod Touch because it sounds more refined and articulate. Bringing the Colorfly C3 in the group makes it stand out as a high-res player. The C3 is a lot more articulate and clear with excellent imaging making it the better sounding player despite its deficiencies in features and user interface.

 

Switching to the LINE OUT and pairing the X1 with a decent amp like the JDS Labs C5D is a different story. The level of detail and clarity is at a level closely comparable to the Colorfly C3. The soundstage width is noticeably changed as well, sounding so much more expansive with no trace of congestion. Imaging is more precise making the overall presentation very coherent. What impresses me the most is the endless possibility of sound characteristics just by pairing the X1 to a different amp. Changing the amp to the FiiO E11K for example noticeably brings a difference in bass texture and soundstage presentation. 

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

So did FiiO answer my prayers for a portable dap solution that I can readily afford? Oh yes they did! I immediately bought an X1 hence the main photo in this review...

 

The FiiO X1 is a great portable DAP and should be in your short list if you're in the market for an affordable and great sounding music player. The User Interface is quite mature for a budget DAP and its usability should be more than enough if you aren't too technical in your listening habits. For serious listeners, I highly recommend that you pair the X1 with a decent amp and use the line out for optimal sound quality. I am now having a difficult time in choosing the iPod Touch 5gen over the X1 whenever I go travelling. It is only when I don't have the luxury of taking an amp that the iPod Touch gets my attention. FiiO has taken their products to a different level while staying true to their roots... they continue to provide quality products that are not beyond the reach of people on a budget. Kudos to FiiO and I hope they continue to surprise us with their excellent consumer friendly products!

 

Special thanks to FiiO, @djvkool and @Brooko for making this review possible.


Edited by d marc0 - 1/21/15 at 11:54pm
post #546 of 554
Thread Starter 

Coming Soon:

  1. Sennheiser Urbanite XL Review

  2. Thinksound Rain2 Review + OZ-NZ Tour!

  3. RHA T10i Review

  4. Fidue A71 mini Review

  5. Philips L2 Review + OZ-NZ Tour!

post #547 of 554
Thread Starter 

SENNHEISER URBANITE XL REVIEW

 

Full sized headphones haven't been part of my usage options for quite some time now. I used to own a Sony MDR-1R but despite the excellent comfort and decent sound my interest wavered because I found IEMs to be more practical for my listening habits. Since then I have auditioned a number of headphones from different brands including Sennheiser, Audeze, Soundmagic, Hifiman, V-moda, Philips, Monster, Beats, etc... but none of them motivated me to desire owning one. 

 

 

Sennheiser released their new Urbanite line-up which according to them delivers a unique style and an intense club sound by serving up massive bass. It’s also said to retain Sennheiser’s uncompromising audio expertise ensuring excellent clarity across all frequencies. This is quite a departure from the sound that Sennheiser is quite known for. Having heard a few HDxxx headphones, none them sounded close to the description of the Urbanite sound. The Momentum full sized headphones may have been closer to the sound preference of the mass market but it's still far off from being a "club sounding" headphone. This makes me wonder if they can pull-off a strong competitor in the Beats dominated headphone segment. Fortunately, Sennheiser is kind enough to lend a review unit giving me the opportunity to review the Urbanite XL as part for the Australian Tour. I’m not sure if this will rekindle my long lost interest in headphones but either way, it’ll be interesting to hear this new Sennheiser “club” sound.

 

SETUP:  FiiO X1 > JDS Labs C5D

               iMac 2011 > JDS Labs C5D

               16/44 FLAC

 

TEST TRACKS:

              Dr. Chesky’s Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc

              Tool - Lateralus

              Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

              Avicii - True

              Pantera - The Best of

              Sia - 1000 Forms of Fear

              Lorde - Pure Heroine

 

 

The Urbanite series of headphones have various colour schemes and come in two separate categories: the Urbanite is an on-ear portable headphone, while the XL is an over-the-ear headphone. The Urbanite XL is the bigger headphone but retains a striking similarity to the build and construction of the smaller Urbanite. I quite like how these headphones turned out despite the materials not looking as premium as the Momentum models. The headband is covered by a textured denim cloth with premium stitching and a subtle looking cushioning underneath which can be a concern for some because from the looks - it doesn't encourage the ideal comfort. Surprisingly I find the cushioning sufficient enough to relieve pressure from the top of my head. The hinge between the headband and ear cups is a folding mechanism and are made of metal that are very well constructed. The sliding adjustment system is well thought of providing ease in attaining the ideal fit unto one's head. The ear cushions are nice and smooth providing excellent comfort which is very important for long listening sessions. I really think that the Urbanite XL is quite stylish, very robust, and overall an impressive headphone for all-around use.

 

 

In terms of comfort, the Urbanite XL is surprisingly comfortable despite the hefty weight. The design manages to distribute the weight around my head without putting too much pressure on certain areas. I was initially concerned about the padded rubber underneath the headband being too thin but it proved me wrong. I can listen to these headphones for hours at a time without any issues. The ear cups fit my ear really well although there's a possibility that elongated large ears can have issues due to the circular shape for the cups. 

 

 

As for fit, it didn't really sit securely on my head because of the low clamping force. In addition to that, the left ear cup doesn't seem to seal that well on my ear whereas the right cup works perfectly. This could just be an isolated issue due to the contour of my jaw line but I reckon that a slight increase in clamping force could've fixed the issue. I could've tried bending the headband inwards but since this is not my personal pair, I didn't risk damaging the headphone.

 

 

The included cable is a bit of a mixed bag for my personal use. I find it quite short especially for desktop usage and really didn’t like the tough rubbery plastic material despite the light-weight advantage. I did find the build to be quite robust especially the twist-to-lock mechanism at the headphone end of the cable. It’s also good for answering a call when paired with a cellphone, thanks to the remote which also contains a microphone, volume rocker, and play/pause button compatible to IOS devices.

 

 

 

 

SOUND

Putting the Urbanites XL on I anticipated a bombardment of massive bass slams. To my delight the overall sound signature is quite neutral with a hint of warmth. I didn't expect this after reading Sennheiser's promotional quotes for the new product. The Urbanite XL is still quite predisposed towards delivering bass to satisfy my EDM sessions, but they do it adequately without messing up the balance and dynamics in sound. Unlike most popular "BASS" headphones, the Urbanite XL produces good clarity from end to end of the frequency range and adds texture to the bass making it sound sound fuller at the same time.

 

BASS has solid slam and impact with a bit of emphasis in the mid-bass. The mild boost in bass is done with subtlety resulting in good bass texture that is quite detailed and doesn’t bleed into the mids. The sub-bass extension is quite good and easily audible even down to 20hz. Unfortunately, the quality is not all that perfect because the decay/speed can be a little bit too slow for complex tracks such as the songs in Tool’s Lateralus album. Please don’t get me wrong, the bass is quite tight and punchy but sometimes the decay just hovers a bit too long for complex tracks. However, when playing the right tracks like the ones from Avicii and Sia the Urbanite XL’s bass performs really well. 

 

MIDRANGE is lush, clear, and detailed which is really not a surprise if you’re familiar with the Sennheiser house sound. Vocals sound smoothened to my ears especially male voices giving an illusion that they’re singing quite far back in relation to the rest of the instruments. This is a good thing when playing modern music because it reduces the harsh edgy texture that is very common nowadays. Guitars sound really pleasant with natural timbre that is quite ideal for rock music. Overall, the midrange is sitting right in the neutral zone… nothing spectacular but no faults to find either.

 

HIGHS can be an issue for some who are after a natural timbre. There’s an audible graininess in texture when listening to aggressive sounding genres like metal (Pantera) and poorly mastered tracks. Despite this limitation, the added sparkle and treble extension are tuned well, keeping a good balance with the rest of the frequency. Listening to well mastered albums such as Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, the Urbanite XL performs really well. The excellent clarity and detail are greatly appreciated as they provide a good sense of dynamics.

 

IMAGING AND SOUNDSTAGE: Soundstage is surprisingly wide and expansive projecting an immersive musical presentation. What makes the Urbanite XL more special is the imaging capability; instruments are placed accurately within the soundstage negating any sign of congestion.

 

 

 

COMPARISON: The Urbanite XL can be closely compared to the Sony MDR-1R. Although styled very differently, I find both headphones to be equally great looking. They both utilise materials that work to their advantage may it be for aesthetics or function. Both are built to last although I feel the XL has a slight advantage when taking a beating due to the materials used. Fit and comfort can be equal to some people but in my experience I find the Sony to fit more securely and comfortably. I reckon, it may have been a tie if the Urbanite XL was a bit lighter and had a bit more clamping force. In terms of sound, the Urbanite XL is more mature sounding than the MDR-1R. Bass is bit tighter and faster on the Sennheiser while the Sony has a bit of a roll-off in the sub-bass. Both have equally good mid-range but I seem to prefer the MDR-1R because of its vocal emphasis. Moving up the treble region, the Urbanite XL has a slight edge due to the neutral tuning whereas the Sony can be a bit sibilant at times. Soundstage and imaging are remarkably similar between the two.

 

 

 

CONCLUSION: Sennheiser’s new take on sound with their Urbanite line-up is looking pretty good from my point of view. They have successfully ticked all the boxes that make up a great headphone for the young segment. Beats and Monster paved the way to this niche and it’s only natural for pioneers such as Sennheiser to follow suit. Personally, this new Sennheiser sound is still not what I’m looking for in a headphone but I do believe that the Urbanite XL will impress a lot of people. It can be a perfect companion to those who listen to various genres as long as they stick to well recorded albums.

 

Special thanks to Sennheiser and @White Lotus for making this review possible.

 


Edited by d marc0 - 1/30/15 at 2:59pm
post #548 of 554

Great review d marc0! Looking forward to your upcoming reviews as well. Have you heard the Fidelio X1 or X2? Hopefully you get a chance to review one (or both) of them someday :-)

post #549 of 554
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by waynes world View Post
 

Great review d marc0! Looking forward to your upcoming reviews as well. Have you heard the Fidelio X1 or X2? Hopefully you get a chance to review one (or both) of them someday :-)


Thanks mate! The Fidelio X2 has been on my radar for quite sometime now... there's a good chance I'll get one if the price is right.

post #550 of 554

Nice review d marc0! Glad you like it!

post #551 of 554
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosmadi Mahmood View Post
 

Nice review d marc0! Glad you like it!


Thank you! 

Well done to you guys... the new products shown on CES looked promising!

I can't wait to try some of them especially the Momentum 2.

post #552 of 554
Thread Starter 

Hi guys,

 

My apologies for the in-activity... been very busy with life these past few months. I'll try my best to catch up with the write-ups/reviews.

 

In the meantime, I went to Addicted To Audio to audition some gear and here are my impressions:

 

Listened to the PM3, nothing special about the sound just good on every parameter I I look into except just ok with clarity and airiness. At first listen it's meh but the more you get used to the sound the better they get. Positioning of ear cups also crucial, can get sibilant on certain positions.

Audeze el8 has a captivating sound, PRAT grabs you at an instant. Love everything except the treble is a bit artificial sounding.

Grado SR80 sound has excellent clarity and detail but smooth at the same time. Sadly they're uncomfortable for my ears.

Momentum 2 has excellent mids and treble but a bit too soft in bass for me. Excellent build and looks tho.

ASG 2, great with some songs but the bass just overshadowed the mids with most of the songs I tried them with. Love the build, best I've seen for an iem.


Edited by d marc0 - Today at 5:26 am
post #553 of 554
Thread Starter 

OPPO PM-3 Impressions

 

Been listening to the PM3 for quite a bit. This does require adequate power but most portable players can handle it. I personally can't get past 75% volume on the iPod touch 5gen and 80clicks on the FiiO X3 2nd gen.

 

BASS: Layered, textured, detailed, decay is just right (not fast, not slow), excellent timbre. Quantity is perfect for me, just a slight bump over flat. Sub bass extension is great with good rumble. Not as strong as M100 tho...

 

MIDS: I'm quite surprised it's NOT mid-centric. Vocals is not upfront, it sits just a bit behind the instruments. Excellent detail, imaging, and separation. If you love different instruments, this is the headphone for you. I don't see this becoming a favourite for VOCAL lovers. Don't get me wrong, vocals sound really good, both male and female. But the presentation is not focused on Vocals. It's more about what goes on around the vocals, and the PM3 does it very well.

 

TREBLE: excellent timbre and decay. cymbals sound realistic. can be a bit sibilant (SSSSS's) with some tracks but if you find the right placement of the ear cups, this is minimised.. Placement of ear cups is crucial. Not that hard to do, which is good news. Extension is not perfect; lacks a bit of air to be honest. But the detail is there, its not completely gone, just recessed from the rest of the frequency.

 

SOUNDSTAGE: Not wide, but good enough to keep the sound out of your head. 3D image is good, I'd say that the width, height, and depth are proportional. So an excellent projection considering this is a closed headphone.

 

The PM3 sound is not inviting; it doesn't sound special either. It took me an hour of audition before I was convinced. It's a laid back presentation but doesn't give up on detail, imaging, separation, and clarity. And that what convinced me to get them.

 

CONS:

  • crap, apple-like cable - the one with mic/remote which you have to buy separately. I did not buy it. (thank God the longer straight cable is good quality)
  • Lacks a bit of air (easily fixed with EQ - +4 @ 16khz on X3 2G)
  • ear cups can be a bit small for large ears. (I've got small ears so I'm good.)

 

 

 

 

AUDEZE EL-8 Open

 

This my friends really surprised me. I was expecting a disappointment after reading all the impressions and seeing that 7khz dip in Innerfidelity's graph. But believe me, this has a very captivating sound! 30 seconds into it and I was hooked! If I didn't pre-order the Fidelio X2, I might have gone home with them instead; with a lot of explaining to do to my wife.

 

Unlike the PM3, Vocals is the main focus with the EL8 and it does is flawlessly! Separation, imaging, detail, and clarity is surely the 2nd best I've heard from a headphone (HD800 is still king). Plus, it's got sub bass! If the X2 doesn't live up to its hype, i'll most likely save up for the EL8.

post #554 of 554
Quote:
Originally Posted by d marc0 View Post
 

OPPO PM-3 Impressions

 

Been listening to the PM3 for quite a bit. This does require adequate power but most portable players can handle it. I personally can't get past 75% volume on the iPod touch 5gen and 80clicks on the FiiO X3 2nd gen.

 

BASS: Layered, textured, detailed, decay is just right (not fast, not slow), excellent timbre. Quantity is perfect for me, just a slight bump over flat. Sub bass extension is great with good rumble. Not as strong as M100 tho...

 

MIDS: I'm quite surprised it's NOT mid-centric. Vocals is not upfront, it sits just a bit behind the instruments. Excellent detail, imaging, and separation. If you love different instruments, this is the headphone for you. I don't see this becoming a favourite for VOCAL lovers. Don't get me wrong, vocals sound really good, both male and female. But the presentation is not focused on Vocals. It's more about what goes on around the vocals, and the PM3 does it very well.

 

TREBLE: excellent timbre and decay. cymbals sound realistic. can be a bit sibilant (SSSSS's) with some tracks but if you find the right placement of the ear cups, this is minimised.. Placement of ear cups is crucial. Not that hard to do, which is good news. Extension is not perfect; lacks a bit of air to be honest. But the detail is there, its not completely gone, just recessed from the rest of the frequency.

 

SOUNDSTAGE: Not wide, but good enough to keep the sound out of your head. 3D image is good, I'd say that the width, height, and depth are proportional. So an excellent projection considering this is a closed headphone.

 

The PM3 sound is not inviting; it doesn't sound special either. It took me an hour of audition before I was convinced. It's a laid back presentation but doesn't give up on detail, imaging, separation, and clarity. And that what convinced me to get them.

 

CONS:

  • crap, apple-like cable - the one with mic/remote which you have to buy separately. I did not buy it. (thank God the longer straight cable is good quality)
  • Lacks a bit of air (easily fixed with EQ - +4 @ 16khz on X3 2G)
  • ear cups can be a bit small for large ears. (I've got small ears so I'm good.)

 

 

 

 

I think that is a very fair review. I agree with almost everything you have written. Good job! I think you will enjoy your X2.


Edited by subguy812 - Today at 6:16 am
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › D marc0's Journal: My Head-fi Journey (NEW: OPPO PM-3 and Audeze EL-8 Open first impressions!)