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Aurisonics ROCKETS: Impressions Thread - Page 81

post #1201 of 3374
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha421 View Post
 

Damn it, why did I ever change to the mic option.


Patience will pay off in the end...  I hope :/  I'm in the same boat you are.  Waiting for the mic'd Rocket to land at my doorstep.  

post #1202 of 3374
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiesOfAzel View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theogenes View Post

 

Actually, the one thing I don't like now is that I don't have a mic... I ordered both kinds (because I'm insane), but I'm sure I'll end up using the mic'd version a lot, as these work like gangbusters with my phone, and not having to pull 'em out when I get a call during the daily commute will be fantastic. 

 

Long term, mic'ing up is probably the way to go if you're gonna use it with a phone. 

 

(Hope that made you feel at least somewhat better. " src="http://files.head-fi.org/images/smilies/wink.gif">)

 


Well, if you decide to get rid of the non mic version you know where to find me wink.gif.

Ha! Yes I do wink.gif
post #1203 of 3374
Gonna run some errands and then bust out the triple threat match later today. Contenders are the Rockets, Tenore, and ER4S, with a special appearance from the old world champion MH1.
post #1204 of 3374

gnarlsagan presents:

 

A Title Bout

 

featuring the world's top contenders

 

ETYMOTIC'S ER4S

ZERO AUDIO'S TENORE

AURISONIC'S ROCKETS

 

with a special appearance by 

 

SONY'S MH1

 

in a Head-fi sanctioned

 

Triple Threat Match

 

The rules are simple. There are no rules. No holds barred. Below the belt shots are encouraged. 

 

FIGHT!

 

Let's get to know the players. First off, why these three? To be concise, they're the top three iems I've ever heard, warranting this triple threat match to determine which really (hyperbole alert) reigns supreme. The ER4S is a legend in the iem world. Etymotic has done much of the still-evolving work on just what constitutes flat sound in iems, and the ER4S is the embodiment of their research. Zero Audio is a new comer that recently blew everyone's mind with their uber-cheap, uber-flat Tenore. Aurisonics has been in the game for a while, but has never ventured towards Ety-esque flatness until now with the Rockets. All these iems fall within the realm of what I'd consider flat, with no major dips and peaks in their respective FR's. They do, however, differ massively in overall presentation. This fight will sort the winners from the losers.

 

Build Quality 

 

To reiterate what I've already said about the Tenore, build quality is terrible on that iem. Sound consistency is all over the place, and channel imbalance (also referred to as Typical Tenore Syndrome, or TTS) has spread faster than the recent Ebola outbreak (there may however be a fix for this issue, which I expound upon here). 

 

Compared to the ER4S, the Tenore's cable is thinner and more supple, but with a smaller more delicate looking strain relief, and a less reassuring L-plug. The ER4S' more tangle prone cable runs about 58 inches compared to the Tenore's 51, and the Rockets' 47. Tenore cable lengths have been known to fluctuate by a few inches however. The longer ER4S cable makes it easier to wear under the shirt and into a DAP. At the gym when I need to pull out my DAP to change songs, if the cable is too short I'll have to bend over a bit or the cable will pull up on my shirt. The Rockets cable is at this shortness limit for my use case. Not a deal breaker, but I do wish the Rockets cable was closer to 60 inches rather than 50.

 

Let's talk about the Rockets. Build quality rocks. The cable is a harder, less tangle prone version of the ER4S' cable. There isn't any strain relief coming out from the barrel, but supposedly the cable here has been quadruple reinforced. We'll see if any reports roll in about cable failure here, but it doesn't seem likely. There has already been one report of a Tenore cable loosening at the barrel, despite careful handling. The ER4S, like the Rockets, inspires confidence here. The Ety cable is thinner, but is a hard plastic. I've personally beat my ER4S to hell, and it shows no signs of breakage or loosening. The Ety's 90 degree plug is solid, but somehow not up to the tank-like specs of the Rockets 45 degree plug. Just check out the pics. The Rockets look ready for the apocalypse. 

 

Round 1 Winner: ROCKETS

 

 

 

 

Fit/Usability

 

Let's make this a quick round. The Tenore fits the easiest, and has the most pliable, microphonics-free cable. It's the easiest to wear over the ear, and fit is super comfortable. The Rockets put up a good fight, but their smaller size likes to dodge fingers when it's time to remove them (solution: never remove them lol), and the less pliable cable fights against an over-the-ear fit. The cable worn down produces some microphonics, which disappears if an over-the-ear fit can be achieved. That said, they match the Tenore in comfort.

 

The ER4S, one the other hand, takes more effort. Most people are now familiar with Etymotic's legendary inner-ear assault. If you're lucky, you'll find some tips that fit you like a glove and eliminate all discomfort. This happened to me, but from what I've read don't count on it happening to you. Concerning microphonics, I've completely eliminated it by tying up the cable, allowing an easy over-the-ear fit. I recommend this easy mod to all ER4 owners.

 

Round 2 Winner:  TENORE

 

 

Sound

 

Here's where the competition heats up. All contenders here have their strengths. Let's talk about them, starting with the trend-setting ER4S. For 20 years it's been the most linear earphone available, with only minor dips and peak along the entire FR, most notably the bass roll-off under 60Hz, and a small dip around 7k, lending a smoother overall delivery to treble. With the stock green filters there is a small bump at 3k to my ears, and changing the filters to reds evens this area out. With FR this flat, tonality is awesome. Instruments are evenly represented, and mids don't sound too warm or too cold. I consider this the tonality Goldilocks zone. Considering only frequency response, the ER4S is one of the most impressively tuned iems of all time.

 

Then I heard the Tenore. Against all odds, this cheap little phone from across the Pacific filled in the only two weak spots in the ER4S' FR. Bass is fuller, and the ~7k dip is gone. Upper-mids are only very slightly less emphasized than a red filtered ER4S. Wow. In FR, the Tenore beats the ER4S to my ears. With FR this good, the Tenore's tonality beats just about everything out there (that I've heard). Bass hits with sufficient emphasis and rumble, and vocals show no hint of warmth or cold. Cymbals are perfectly emphasized and ride out with very believable decay. But don't count Ety out yet. Attack on the ER4S packs more power and distinction than on the Tenore. This is most apparent on percussion, where snares hit more solidly and fast kick drum beats are more resolved and separate. Notes in general have more authority and solidity on the ER4S, lending an overall more realistic presentation of sound to my ears. 

 

If attack is a great strength on the ER4S, decay might be considered its weakness. This is something I would have never admitted before hearing the Rockets, but before involving them too deeply I'll talk about how the Tenore's decay compares. Basically, bass notes are long. Maybe just a tad too long for proper definition. This affects the rest of the Tenore's presentation when a lot of sounds start adding up. Because the decay is a bit long, we lose out on detail in the end of notes. They linger a little too close to the next note, and separation suffers. And, because the attack is a bit slow, we lose detail on the leading edge of notes. Together, these issues chip away at imaging and an overall convincing sound stage. Snare drums don't snap like on the ER4S. They snip.

 

The ER4S has the opposite problem, pumping out bass notes with insane quickness and distinction, albeit without enough emphasis at the lower end. While this quickness is great for detail retrieval, it allows for exactly zero sub-bass rumble. This begs the question: why can't we get something with the lovely emphasis (and overall FR) of the Tenore, with (almost) the speed of the ER4S?

 

*The Rockets enter the ring.*

 

Like the Tenore, the Rockets fill in the FR gaps on the ER4S. Low-bass is present, although less emphasized than on the Tenore, and 7-8k is dip-free. There's a negligible ~2dB treble bump that can range anywhere from 6-9.5k depending on tips and fit. Personally I get the bump at 8k with the stock tips, and 9.5k with some Meelec double flanges. So FR-wise, the Rockets land a few solid punches on the aging ER4S. How about attack and decay? Do the Rockets fall prey to the same issues that knocked out the Tenore?  

  

NO.

 

The Rockets have a strong leading edge, and notes stop sufficiently early. Percussion hits with more authority than on the Tenore, and definition is clearly better. Because notes are more defined, it's easier to tell where they originate, leading to better imaging and an overall more convincing sound stage. I get a stronger sensation that the music is surrounding me, and that there is actual distance between me and real instruments. The improved FR of the Rockets over the ER4S also allows them to more accurately define bass and treble within 3D space. With more emphasized bass (and to a lesser degree treble) on the Rockets, all sounds fill in the sound stage in a much wider more believable way than on the ER4S.

 

A/B'ing between the Rockets and ER4S surprised me more than any comparison ever has. I never categorized the ER4S as having a wide sound stage, but I never thought it was lacking either. I considered it a limitation of a flat FR and the nature of iems that the ER4S was sufficiently realistic. But the Rockets have changed my mind. It's FR is more correct to my ears, as is its attack and decay, resulting in an overall more realistic and engaging sonic experience than what I hear on the ER4S. It was jarring. Tonality on the Rockets is the best I've ever heard. Cymbals and percussion hit with perfect emphasis and with an engaging attack and Goldilocks decay. Vocals are in a similar Goldilocks land and are more deliberate than on the Tenore, and bass is tighter with enough emphasis and extension for believable rumble. The Rockets are the genetically enhanced baby of the ER4S and Tenore, taking all of their strengths but none of their weaknesses that I can tell. 

 

Round 3 Winner: ROCKETS

 

 

 

Final Words

 

Wow wow wow. I never would have believed it. To put this victory in perspective, I bought the original ASG-1 and hated it. I thought it was the worst sounding iem of all time, without exaggeration. With a ton of eq, however, it became apparent that there was hope for a more mature tuning in the future. The ASG-2 arrived and I was one of the first to jump on the hype train. They arrived and I wasn't impressed. I found myself fixating on all of it's flaws, and I sold them soon after. I put Aurisonics out of my mind, wrote them off. I figured they had no respect for flat-style tuning, and I said a lot of negative things about the ASG-2 for a while. When I heard about the Rockets on kickstarter I thought "Who the hell is going to fund Aurisonics. Their first two iems sucked." (I'm being candid here). Then their funding jumped through the roof and they blew past their goal seemingly overnight. "Wow, people must like sh**ty sound," I thought (yes my inner voice is that negative, imagine the restraint I exercise every day lol).

 

I was 100% totally wrong about Aurisonics.

 

I usually hesitate to say something so definitive about an iem, because tastes and opinions can change, and who knows if there won't be major build problems with the Rockets like there were on the Tenore, etc. Anything could happen. But right now I feel quite comfortable saying that the Rockets are the best iem I've ever heard.

 

Hats off to Aurisonics for developing such a beautifully tuned piece of equipment. It's allowed me to get even closer to the music I love. And thanks to Mr. N'Sync for getting the word out and getting this tour started. 

 

I hope the rest of you enjoy this iem as much as I have. They're going out to Unity tomorrow, and I look forward to interpreting the anime that will no doubt make up the bulk of his review. Cheers.

 

Edit: Just realized I didn't include the MH1 at all. Blargh.  


Edited by gnarlsagan - 8/19/14 at 9:52pm
post #1205 of 3374

Beautiful comparisons gnarlsagan, exactly the kind of depth and verbiage I was looking for. I don't even miss the MH1 comparison.

post #1206 of 3374

Damn man. You b@sturd. Now I have to hear these puppies and probably sell all my tenores! hahaha

post #1207 of 3374
Damn....another hole in the pocket soon biggrin.gif
post #1208 of 3374

The ER4S replacement. Nuff said, and with build quality to boot. I' am loving mines. Tops my previous fav the CK10. 


Edited by audiobot - 8/19/14 at 9:47pm
post #1209 of 3374
In the words of Porky Pig: That's all folks!

To be honest Gnarl, when I recruited you for the tour, I had a very good feeling that the Rockets would floor you, I just didn't explicitly state it to try to keep you in the dark. I guess I did hint at it, with the, "hold onto your butts, these are gonna take you on a ride..." but c'mon, how could I resist knowing how they sound. With that said, I was hoping you'd find some chinks in the proverbial armor... which makes it all the more hilarious that you not only failed to do so, but you'd also do an about face on AS wink.gif

And yeah, onward to Unity. I'm sure he'll be more successful in nitpicking them, tho to be honest, after hearing the Rockets thru the Calyx M, I might have to retract my previous comment on them not sounding assertive enough in the low end. In any case, I welcome the remaining members to exploit any weaknesses they can find in the Rockets' sig. I'm sure Unity and James will unearth something.
post #1210 of 3374
Quote:
Originally Posted by Idsynchrono_24 View Post

In the words of Porky Pig: That's all folks!

To be honest Gnarl, when I recruited you for the tour, I had a very good feeling that the Rockets would floor you, I just didn't explicitly state it to try to keep you in the dark. I guess I did hint at it, with the, "hold onto your butts, these are gonna take you on a ride..." but c'mon, how could I resist knowing how they sound. With that said, I was hoping you'd find some chinks in the proverbial armor... which makes it all the more hilarious that you not only failed to do so, but you'd also do an about face on AS wink.gif

And yeah, onward to Unity. I'm sure he'll be more successful in nitpicking them, tho to be honest, after hearing the Rockets thru the Calyx M, I might have to retract my previous comment on them not sounding assertive enough in the low end. In any case, I welcome the remaining members to exploit any weaknesses they can find in the Rockets' sig. I'm sure Unity and James will unearth something.

 

I'm as surprised as you are. I had every reason to be skeptical, except for SGS's endorsement of the Rockets prototype he heard (and that he totally back peddled on when the hype started building lol, but he was right after all imo). I'm very curious as to what flaws other people might find with these. My biggest complaints (which are smaller than any complaints I've had about any iems I've owned or auditioned), are that sub-bass around 30-40Hz could be maybe 2dB louder, and... that's it lol. The small 8k peak affected mids a bit until I tried the Meelec biflanges, which moved the peak to 9.5k. Mids are perfect now.

 

I mean really there's nothing sonically that I can complain about. It's weird. I fully admit I could be missing something. Maybe someone else can find it. If most people are getting a 6k peak, I could see that being somewhat of an issue. I feel pretty lucky that I don't hear that at all. I do recommend people trying different fits and tips to move the treble peak higher up the FR. It's definitely an improvement imo.      

post #1211 of 3374
I'm glad you found them to be wholly satisfying on your end. My hope was that us Tenore fans could have a phone that retained its sig with none of the QC issues, and at an affordable price. Seems with Rockets, it's all that and more. Really looking forward to the rest of the impressions. I have no qualms with admitting that the Rockets are among the very best phones I've ever heard. They do everything remarkably well with nary a glaring fault. It's the one phone I feel I can recommend to others seeking hi end sound without the usual caveats (price, build, fit, need to EQ etc.)
post #1212 of 3374
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnarlsagan View Post
 

gnarlsagan presents:

 

A Title Bout

 

Excellent informative and entertaining writeup, thanks! :smile_phones:

post #1213 of 3374

how bad exactly are the tenores qc issues? i have a flight in 6 days and clearly my rockets aren't gonna get here in time and since they sound similar i might just buy them for a temp pair then resell them on here once i get my rockets. i can get them with 2 day shipping on amazon, so... seems like a good idea. is it a total crapshoot?

post #1214 of 3374
I personally haven't had any issues with mine, but others have reported not being so lucky. I guess the largest issue is that they're subject to FR anomalies due to the amount of damping foam (?) in the housing. I don't remember exactly what it was, it was something like that. Anywho, sets could be anything from flat, to bass enhanced, to sufferin from downward sloping treble... Which is to say nothing of how some others report sound cutting in and out. Gnarl seems to have gotten to the bottom of the issue, and James outlines how to open the housing in the Tenore thread if you're feeling brave
post #1215 of 3374
Quote:
Originally Posted by raisedbywolves View Post
 

how bad exactly are the tenores qc issues? i have a flight in 6 days and clearly my rockets aren't gonna get here in time and since they sound similar i might just buy them for a temp pair then resell them on here once i get my rockets. i can get them with 2 day shipping on amazon, so... seems like a good idea. is it a total crapshoot?

 

AFAIK there are three possible issues:

 

- FR anomalies (most frequently: too much bass): as idsy says, due to variations in the driver's back vent damping. Major issue, needs invasive mod to fix.

- Cable sheath coming off at the strain relief: minor issue (imo, since cable itself isn't affected). Simply glue the sheath back on.

- TTS (sudden volume drop in one or both channels): likely due to moisture condensation. Replace the filter mesh with a small piece of cotton wool.

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