T-PEOS H-100j vs H-200 Comparison
I'm a huge fan of the T-Peos H-200 despite its flaws that I have spent quite a bit of my money (upgrade cable) and time (filter mods and tip rolling) just to improve its overall sound. I truly feel that the H-200 is the best IEM (that I have heard) for heavy metal. As a metal head, I value fast bass response with short decay and forward mids to highlight guitar crunches and shreds - and that's what the H-200 does best! Then came the H-100j... so I thought: how awesome it could be if T-PEOS fixed all the glaring flaws in the H-200 and offered it at a fraction of the cost! Well, let's find out!
SETUP: Colorfly C3 (no amp)
T-PEOS H-100j + foam filter mod + Sony MH1 Tips (shallow insertion) NOTE: You can choose hifiman filters, earbud foam covers, or even tea bags as filters.
T-PEOS H-200 + SPC cable + foam filter mod + Sony MH1 Tips (shallow insertion)
Test tracks are all in 16bit/44Khz FLAC format:
- Daft Punk - Lose Yourself to Dance
- Gloria Estefan - Conga
- Guns N' Roses - Knockin' On Heavens Door
- Phil Collins - Easy Lover
- Kenny Loggins - Forever
- Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
- Janet Jackson - Call On Me
- Pantera - Domination
- Metallica - Battery
The H-100j can be very edgy and harsh in the upper mids so proper tip selection and the addition of some sort of dampening is required.
The very first track I tried the H-100j with is Daft Punk's Lose Yourself to Dance and immediately I was impressed! Bass is layered, punchy, powerful, and extends really well to the point where I got to a conclusion that the H-100j bass is technically better than my beloved H-200. My previous reviews/comparisons with the H-200 in them provide details on how much I really like its bass response. So for me to say that the H-100j is better is such a great feat; at least in my books. I couldn't believe my ears... so I quickly queued in my heavy metal test tracks from Pantera and Metallica and the H-100j presented the bass end with such ease and finesse!
As much as I hesitate to write it here... I have no choice but to acknowledge the fact that the H-100j outperforms the H-200 in the bass department.
Listening to Daft Punk and Gloria Estefan with the H-100j sounded so promising. Instruments/Synthesiser sounds really great because the mids are VERY forward. Everything sounds so rich and full; very detailed, and clarity is probably even better than the H-200. Unfortunately, it all went down hill when I started playing other test tracks that exhibit more electric guitar crunches and edgy vocals like Axl Rose's. The H-100j is just a few notches too forward in the upper mids that edgy instruments or vocals were just too much; even for my not too sensitive ears! I couldn't even enjoy the second half of Guns N' Roses - Knockin' on Heavens Door because I started feeling fatigue. Please note that I already added extra dampening/filter yet it was still too edgy for my ears! Fortunately for the H-100j, it is not always the case as long as there aren't any edgy sounding instruments/vocals involved in the recording. That's why the mids still sounded really good when listening to Gloria Estefan, Tina Turner, Daft Punk, and other well mastered recordings. If you have average quality music in your library, the H-100j will make you regret having them in your music player.
No contest here because the H-200 is heaps more forgiving and a much better all-rounder despite the slightly recessed lower mids and slightly forward upper mids...
The H-200 has really good treble; bright and airy (brighter than the DN-1000). There is just a very little hint of the grainy texture or metallic tinge at a high listening volume; BUT this is only apparent in crappy recordings and some singers' voice characteristic. On a positive note, the H-200 sounds really natural in the treble region that the cymbals, high-hats, and percussion instruments are such a pleasure to hear. There's an occasional peak in the upper treble that may affect one's listening experience but I personally, am not affected by this in most of the songs I listen to. Please NOTE that this will vary depending on your source, song quality, tips, and depth of insertion. I personally use the large Sony hybrid tips, SPC upgrade cable, plus shallow insertion which to my experience have greatly reduced the peak problem. A foam filter mod will completely nullify the peak but at the expense of the airiness which is a unique characteristic of the H-200 that I truly love.
The H-100j is a bit smoother because it doesn't sound as peaky in the upper treble. There is a trade-off tho... it doesn't sound airy because to my ears there's a sudden roll-off in the highs. Timbre is greatly affected that the cymbals and other percussion instruments don't accentuate as they're suppose to; leaving a feeling of dryness... very flat sounding to my ears. There's really nothing more to say about the H-100j's highs because it doesn't provide more resolution to make the music lively and real. The only upside: it is not prone to treble harshness even for a sibilant track such as Phil Collins' - Easy Lover.
The H-100j falls short of resolution in the highs thus, not able to provide a more airy and lively sound. My guess is it lacks one more BA driver to produce that extra extension to present the detail and resolution that we all look for in a hybrid IEM.
The H-100j is quite a detailed hybrid with amazing clarity and sparkle but falls short in high resolution because of the treble roll-off. What it also lacks compared to the H-200 is the ability to separate various instruments and place them in different positions in the presentation. Most of the time, the H-100 sounds quite congested and everything just sounds too busy for your brain to process. The H-200 on the other hand performs a lot better in these aspects.
The H-100j doesn't sound wide to my ears. As a matter of fact, the lack of soundstage width and depth causes a VERY intimate listening session. Too intimate that you feel that your listening to music in a small telephone booth or office cubicle. It may benefit some genres and artists but most of the time it just leads to a congested feeling.
As much as I wanted the H-100j to correct the flaws of my beloved H-200, I couldn't really blame it for failing. It is a budget hybrid and we shouldn't expect it to outperform the much pricier and technically advanced T-PEOS H-200.
Special thanks to a fellow headfier who's kind enough to loan me his H-100j for review.
Edited by d marc0 - 1/11/14 at 6:45am