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D marc0's Journal: My Head-fi Journey (NEW: T-PEOS Altone 200 Review!) - Page 23

post #331 of 521

Thank you for the response.

post #332 of 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetblack08 View Post
 

I noticed something strange a few a days ago... maybe it is just my pair, but music seems to be the reverse coming from my H-300. What I mean by this is details that are on the right on my SM3 and SM64 are on the left on my H-300 and vice versa. Because of this, I have been wearing the left in my right ear and the right in my left ear. Anyone else notice this?

SM64/H-300 comparisons? (sorry for hijacking your thread d marc0)
They both are super enticing to me

post #333 of 521
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nehcrow View Post
 

SM64/H-300 comparisons? (sorry for hijacking your thread d marc0)
They both are super enticing to me

 

It's all good mate...

Any H300 comparison will be interesting.

post #334 of 521
Thread Starter 

EarSonics SM3 V2 Review

 

 

 

 

It’s embarrassing but truth be told I’ve never heard of the Earsonics SM3 V2 in the year and a half of being a member at head-fi. Fortunately, our good friend djvkool offered to lend me his unit for review and I’m really grateful for the opportunity of hearing this triple-BA which I find such a pleasure to listen with. 

 

SETUP:   Colorfly C3 > JDS Labs C5

               iMac 2011 > Stoner Acoustics UD110v2 > JDS Labs C5

               16/44 FLAC, ALAC, and 256kbps AAC

               Using Sony hybrid tips

 

 

 

 

BASS: No bells and whistles really… just a normal sounding bass presentation to my ears. Nothing special to catch ones attention nor flaw that can be criticised. I find the low end quite close to neutral with a bit of warmth that is quite nice. I do however, find it just a little bit lacking in refinement to extract that little bit more texture in producing bass guitar riffs. Maybe its just me being too spoilt by bass boosted IEMs such as the H300. Sometimes, it can sound a little bit muddy which I believe is coming from the lower midrange bleeding over the mid-bass. This bleeding only happens when playing rock and metal tracks with overly distorted guitar riffs that are thick sounding. But overall, there’s really nothing to complain about because the low frequency is presented really well with good speed/decay, detail, and sub-bass extension.

 

 

MIDS: This is where I had a bit of difficulty assessing the SM3 V2 because there seems to be a veil surrounding the entire presentation. At first I thought the mids as whole was recessed but later found out that the detail is all there and quite neutral in most sections. The lower mid-range is quite forward and thick in texture; as a result vocals are quite intimate, lush, and full sounding. Instruments also sound lush, rich, and detailed but a bit too thick with distorted guitars. But then I realised; I was missing the clarity in the upper midrange of which I’m used to from Noble 4 and Dunu DN-1000. This is where the accents from cymbals and vocals get emphasised and the SM3 V2 seems to have a very laid back upper mid-range resulting into a very smooth vocal/cymbal presentation. This is perfect for those who are sensitive to sibilance. I threw all my sibilance test tracks at the SM3 V2 and NONE of them gave me problems. The down side, this presentation is not for everyone… some will find it veil sounding and I can’t blame them. I personally find it a decent solution when I’m in need of a relaxing musical session.

 

 

HIGHS: The treble section reminds me so much of the UE TF10; I'm not really accurate about this because I don’t have the TF10 for a real time A/B comparison but from memory they are quite similar. Laid back yet there’s enough sparkle to produce the detail needed. It also extends really well, extracting every bit of detail that one might look for from their favourite track. I really don’t have anything bad to say about this section but if I were really to nit pick… there’s a slight graininess but that's about it. I don’t even mind it because I can really appreciate the detail and extension that the SM3 V2 provides.

 

 

 

 

IMAGING AND SOUNDSTAGE: Presentation is the main highlight from the SM3 V2 which I will attribute to its superb imaging and sound-staging. Instruments are placed all over place that they surround the vocals to produce a mesmerising experience. Never did I feel congested in any of the tracks I used for this review. Soundstage is above average and yet not exaggerated; the width varies depending on how the track is mixed/mastered and in some tracks it reaches the back of your head. Height and depth are excellent resulting into a 3D-like presentation such that I can’t put into words how awesome the SM3 V2 does live music!

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION: What a surprise! Another IEM that’s really enjoyable despite the flaws in its tuning. If only the lower midrange was more refined and the upper mid-range a bit more forward, this could’ve been an awesome piece of work. For what it’s worth, the SM3 V2 is such a pleasure to listen to. I enjoyed every minute I spent with it and for those who are dismissing it because of the slight veil… it can easily be fixed. How? That’s for you to find out once you give the Earsonics SM3 V2 a go!

 

Special thanks to @djvkool for letting me review this unit.


Edited by d marc0 - 4/14/14 at 3:35pm
post #335 of 521

Great review. I though that there was a veil in the midrange as well, but I thought the treble was rolled off, more so that the TF-10. It's a really nice IEM but it's not really my sound sig. 

 

d_marc0, are you hopping on the DN-2000 train? 

post #336 of 521
Nice d marc0! My ears live vicariously through you :-)
post #337 of 521

Great review mate

post #338 of 521
Thread Starter 

Cheers guys!

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by lin0003 View Post
 

Great review. I though that there was a veil in the midrange as well, but I thought the treble was rolled off, more so that the TF-10. It's a really nice IEM but it's not really my sound sig.

 

d_marc0, are you hopping on the DN-2000 train?

 

Thanks! Yeah, the SM3 V2 is not for everyone. Suprisingly, I seem to like the laid back presentation.

 

In regard to the DN-2000, if it's better than the DN-1000 I'll definitely get them. It'll also depend if the H3 is marginally better... I think I'm liking the H3 sound signature at the moment.


Edited by d marc0 - 4/14/14 at 7:49am
post #339 of 521
Thread Starter 

 

Sony XBA H3 Review and Comparisons

 

 

Celebrating Easter Sunday with the Sony XBA H3!

 

 

The moment Sony announced its entry to the hybrid IEM market I got really excited. Imagine a Sony MH1 tuning with the EX1000 bass and XBA 3 clarity hopefully w/o the metallic treble… This could be the best Sony IEM in history! Can it compete against the other hybrids that have gained popularity in the past couple of years? Let’s give the XBA H3 a go and find out!

 

SETUP:   Colorfly C3 > JDS Labs C5

                iMac 2011 > Stoner Acoustics UD110v2 > JDS Labs C5

                16/44 FLAC, ALAC, and 256kbps AAC

                TEST TRACKS: Dream Theater - Greatest Hit (…And 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs) album

 

 

 

 

BASS: Each and every hybrid IEM I’ve reviewed so far has impressed me with their bass performance but Sony’s XBA H3 is the first to bring a mixed bag of impression. It has a strong emphasis on mid-bass but oddly coupled with a close-to-neutral sub-bass. The bass quantity is not really at “basshead” level but the impact/presence is quite good. Unfortunately, there’s a bit too much mid-bass and it usually causes bloat and bleeding. This will also depend on the tempo and complexity of the track and I’ve noticed that it can get away with slow clean songs such as acoustic performances and ballads. The problem occurs when dealing with complex, fast tempo tracks such as progressive metal. Bass decay stays a little bit too long thus bass bleed/bloat becomes more apparent. Fortunately, the problem is not so obvious with some genres such as EDM and 80’s Pop/Rock.

 

MIDS: This is where the XBA H3 falls really short of my expectations; the mid-range is quite recessed. What makes it worse, the recessed area is right in the middle where most of the rich detail reside. As a result, most instruments such as the piano, violin, and guitars at high octaves sound dull and distant. Distorted guitars sound too thick and masks the rest of the details. Vocals sound distant and restricted, diverting your focus to the surrounding instruments. Fortunately, the upper mid-range is quite forward saving the entire presentation from sounding veiled. Vocal sibilance is never an issue which is a plus! The XBA H3 doesn’t have the clarity of the other hybrids I’ve heard but at least cymbals sound natural and clear providing the necessary sparkle to even out the overall presentation.

 

 

HIGHS: The treble section is the XBA H3’s main strength with enough presence to compliment the emphasised bass. It is very detailed, well extended, airy, sparkly, and never sibilant. Cymbals sound great and vocal sibilance is almost non-existent resulting into a relaxed listening experience without compromising detail. Micro detail is easily extracted and can easily compete against the best I’ve heard. The only fault that I can point out and I’m really nit picking here; is that the XBA H3 still retains a little bit of the grainy texture and metallic tinge that were prevalent in the previous XBA series of IEMs. Not as bad but still faintly audible to my ears.

 

 

 

 

IMAGING AND SOUNDSTAGE: Overall presentation is quite pleasing because of the XBA H3’s superb imaging and sound-staging that’ll project an illusion of being in a large concert hall with you situated right in the middle.  Instruments are placed well and will never sound congested no matter what genre you choose. Soundstage is not the widest but is perfectly balanced with its height and depth resulting into an impressive 3D-like presentation.

 

TAPE MOD: It has been suggested that covering the bass port and punching a needle-sized hole over the port can help improve the bass performance. After trying this mod on the Sony XBA H3, I am convinced that this is a MUST! Not only did it lessen the mid-bass hump, it also improved the speed, decay, and impact. The mid-bass no longer bled as much and the bloat is almost gone! As a bonus, the recession in the mids is now only noticeable at a lesser extent because it is no longer overwhelmed by the mid-bass.

 

 

 

 

VS DUNU DN-1000: The Sony XBA H3 bass is not as controlled nor detailed against the DN-1000. Sub-bass rolls-off much earlier and is less visceral when compared against the Dunu. Bass guitar riffs are better defined on the DN-1000 especially on complex and fast tempo recordings. However, with the Tape Mod applied on the XBA H3, the improvements in its bass is so drastic that the overall performance now matches the DN-1000.

 

The mid-range is less desired on the XBA H3 because the DN-1000 is more forward with clarity that goes beyond its price range. Vocals are more enticing with the Dunu plus the instruments sound richer and the overall presentation is more intimate.

                                

The XBA H3 is technically better than the DN-1000 in its treble performance because the latter is tuned close to neutral with excellent extension. The Dunu is not far behind tho, only trailing behind because of occasional sibilance in the lower treble (tip/insertion dependent) and it lacks a little bit in extension and micro-detail retrieval when compared to the Sony. However, Sony’s treble is a bit grainy and metallic unlike the smoother treble of the DN-1000.

 

Imaging is marginally better on the XBA H3 but the soundstage/headstage is quite similar to the DN-1000’s.

 

 

 

 

VS T-PEOS H-300: Bass and Mid-range wise, there is no contest here. The H-300 is simply the better performer in all areas because its bass is more extended, balanced, detailed, and visceral; the mid-range is a lot more detailed, richer, and has clarity that is remarkable in its price range. Timbre is also more natural sounding on the H-300 unlike the XBA H3 which can sound dull at times.

 

The XBA H3 is technically better than the H-300 in its treble performance because the latter is tuned close to neutral with excellent extension. The H-300 is not far behind tho, only trailing behind because of the obvious peak in the lower treble and it lacks a little bit in extension when compared to the Sony. However, Sony’s treble is a bit grainy and metallic unlike the smoother treble of the H-300.

 

The XBA H3 is arguably just as good as the H-300 in imaging but the soundstage/headstage sounds more expansive on the H-300.

 
 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION: The Sony XBA H3 is the odd one amongst all the hybrids I’ve reviewed so far but I personally find the overall sound quite enjoyable. I am really attracted to its sound especially with the tape mod applied just as long as I keep myself not too critical with its flaws. As a side note, the presentation and sound signature is quite different from the other hybrids because the XBA H3 has retained the Sony house sound. I actually applaud Sony for staying true to their sound and I truly believe that if they retune that mid-range and lessen the mid-bass a bit their next hybrid can be great sounding IEM. Sad to say that this is not the ultimate Sony IEM that I’ve been hoping for. Sony XBA H30... maybe?

 

Special thanks to @djvkool for letting me review this unit.

post #340 of 521
I really appreciate the H3 review. A few Head-Fiers have suggested it to me, buy after reading this I realize it isn't for me. Have you done a review of the FAD Heaven V?
post #341 of 521
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7S Cameron View Post

I really appreciate the H3 review. A few Head-Fiers have suggested it to me, buy after reading this I realize it isn't for me. Have you done a review of the FAD Heaven V?

I'm glad I could help which is really the main purpose of this thread.

I haven't heard any of the FADs yet but I'm hoping one day I'll have the opportunity.

Cheers!
post #342 of 521

Excellent as usual d marc0! 

 

What's next?

post #343 of 521
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by waynes world View Post

Excellent as usual d marc0! 

What's next?

Dun dun dun... 2000!
I also have a list of what's coming at the first page. I'll be updating it later so stay tuned...

Thanks mate!
Edited by d marc0 - 4/22/14 at 7:33pm
post #344 of 521
Hiya,

thanks for that review, very informative, as I said in a previous post I have just got a pair or these, I've yet to hear the Dunu, or T-Peos so thats something to look forward to if they are better than the H3's.

That said I am enjoying these very much indeed.
post #345 of 521
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveKiwi View Post

Hiya,

thanks for that review, very informative, as I said in a previous post I have just got a pair or these, I've yet to hear the Dunu, or T-Peos so thats something to look forward to if they are better than the H3's.

That said I am enjoying these very much indeed.

My pleasure...
Yes they are enjoyable indeed!
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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: T-PEOS Altone 200 Review!)