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New in-Ear for basshead - Page 2
Velodyne vPulse: ($80)
I bought these after reading many reviews, most of which discussed how bass heavy they are. However, I found them completely underwhelming. The bass was not nearly as heavy as some claim. And was no better than my old Sennheiser CX300ii.
Mids & Highs
Both were clear, the mids might've been a bit recessed. Sound quality was good overall.
Can I give a 0 out of 5?. They are large, stick way out of your ears and you feel them at all times.
Noise canceling was decent, but I wouldn't call it great.
A disappointment. Not worth the price in any regard. The sound is clear and the bass is decent but is not great and I can't justify the price considering how uncomfortable they are.
JLab Epic: ($50)
Very good sub-bass. The best I've heard. However the midbass seems recessed.
Mids & Highs
Unfortunately the mids seem a bit recessed too. And the highs can be harsh.
I would rate these at a solid 3 on a scale of 5.
Not bad but nothing exceptional. My Sennheiser's were better at this. You can still hear a lot of sound but there is some noise canceling.
Kind of skipping ahead, the sub-bass is the best of the three by decent margin. With a 13mm driver and the others only having 10mm drivers it seems to me the physics would prevent the others from having as good of a sub-bass response. However with the mids being recessed and the highs being harsh, I don't think I will be keeping things.
Urbanears Kransen: ($26)
There aren't a lot of reviews out there for this earbud. I was very hopeful based upon the fact that most reviews are very positive and there's only been one negative review that I found.
Good. Every bit as good as the Velodyne vPulse. However while the initial bass is on par with the JLab Epic, it is missing this kind of reverb you feeling your chest that the JLab Epic has. In short the bass is very good, but it just can't compete with the Epic.
Mids & Highs
This is where the Kransen really shines. The mids are very forward and are very complementary to the bass. And while the highs are nice and clear they trail off just enough so that it doesn't hurt your ears and there's no harshness to the sound. These are easily the best of the three with regard to the mids and highs.
Another area they win, and by a longshot. I would easily rate them a 4 out of 5. I might even rate them higher with more time to play with them.
On par with the Epic. Nothing special in this area. But decent.
As an all-around earbud, this one wins pretty well, and the innovations with the cord are fantastic. Also these are the best at getting rid of microphonics of the three. However there are some major issues. The bass just is not competitive with the Epic. Also the volume seems to be a bit lower on these earbuds than others I've looked at. At the highest volume when connected to my iPhone I keep wanting to turn it up little higher but couldn't. If the base was just a little heavier these would be my winner.
At the moment despite the issues of the Epic I have to claim them as the winner. However I'm not satisfied with the Epic due to the harshness of the highs in the recessed mids. Therefore the search will go on.
Comments and recommendations for possible replacements are welcome and appreciated.
Edited by AtariPrime - 1/26/14 at 12:59am
I decided to order the Sony XB90EX. I found them at the slightly marked down price of $90. They are on the way and once they arrive, I will conduct my initial impressions.
Also, in order to be fair to the JLab Epic and the Urbanears Kransen, I am currently conducting burn-in on those and will be burning in the XB90 as well (apparently you have to burn in the XB90).
I'm expecting there to be at least a contest between the Epic and the XB90EX in the bass category, we'll see.
I do have to say though, the form factor, comfort, and general day to day usability of the Urbanears cannot be overstated. They win hands down in this department. And as noted above the sound is great. And the bass is very good, but sub-bass is definitely lacking compared to the Epic (10mm driver v. 13mm driver). If by chance you do not want/need a heavy bass IEM I would highly recommend the Kransen.
The contenders where the Sony XB90EX, the JLab Epic, the Urbanears Kransen.
As noted in my earlier post, the comfort of the Kransen cannot be overstated. As well as the ergonomics of them. The cord and the locking system are pure genius. If you do not want heavy bass. I cannot recommend these highly enough. Sadly because I do want lots of bass they won't be my choice. Don't get me wrong though, these have more bass than most but they can't compare to the 13mm or 16mm drivers of the Epic and the XB90. Also they're the lightest and easily the ones that would be best at staying in your ears under all conditions.
The only major complaint I have about these it be that the overall decibel level just not reached very high. They're a little quiet. An equalizer can compensate for this some but the volume stays at more than safe levels than the others but at the same time it doesn't reach levels that might be desired regardless of safety. I don't want the manufacturer taking a choice out of my hands.
Best Sound & Bass:
It doesn't really surprise me that the most expensive of the headphones above sound the best. The Sony XB90EX has a very wide soundstage. Also, with a 16mm driver it's bass goes deeper than the others are capable of. Despite what anyone may claim with Hippos or WooDuos, I don't think they can beat the bass of the XB90EX.
I tried listening to a wide variety of songs before settling on the pluses and minuses of each. Really there are no minuses in my opinion to the XB90EX sound. The soundstage is the widest. The Kransen comes close in this regard and as far as mids highs they both sound very similar. It is in the bass department that the XB90 pushes far beyond the Kransen. Mids are slightly forward and highs slightly recessed with both. Which I think is the ideal setting to avoid harshness. The Epics as noted above, are harsh when it comes to the highs and overall the sound is not pleasant.
The only major complaint I have with the XB90s is that they stick out of your ears a little bit more than ideal and the cord is attached far out at the end. Look at some pictures and you'll see what I mean. This makes them somewhat odd feeling when running, there's a slight bounciness to them that you don't get with the other designs. That part is somewhat of an issue, but they never felt like they were going to fall out. Though if I was going to run 10 miles I probably would go with something lighter like the Kransen. Some might also be turned off by the fact there's no microphone on the XB90. That is not really an issue for me but if that's important to you, something to think about.
The JLab Epic tried really hard but the bass response could not keep up with the XB90. I tried a lot of songs and it was hard to tell the difference in the bass at times. It wasn't until I picked a very fast hard-hitting song, Faster Than Light by a band called Far Too Loud, that the winner became very clear. That song showed the weaknesses and strengths of the various headphones. Neither the Kransen nor the Epic could keep up in any respect with the XB90 on this song. It pushed the limits of the headphones. Other songs showed it as well, such as Awolnation - Sail, Ayla - Part II, and Ellie Goulding - Lights.
The Epics are good for the price. However I still prefer the Kransen compared to the Epic. Just for sheer comfort and design. Some things that I didn't like about the Epics are the straight plug instead of an L-shaped plug, the fact that the microphone is on the right ear phone instead of the left, and the feel to the overall plastic and even the tips to go in your ear feels somewhat cheap.
So basically the winner is the Sony XB90EX. I've never heard bass to the level and quality that it puts out. Also the mid mids are nicely toned, and the highs are slightly recessed, which is good. And they're also very comfortable, despite their size, which I didn't mention above. The only downside being the cord placement makes them possibly likely to fall out of your ears a long run.
Simple stats for comparing the three:
Comfort: Kransen 5, Sony 4, Epic 3
Functionality: Kransen 5, Epic 4, Sony 3
Highs: Sony 5, Kransen 5, Epic 3
Mids: Sony 5, Kransen 5, Epic 3
Lows: Sony 5, Epic 4, Kransen 2
Soundstage: Sony 5, Kransen 4, Epic 3
Volume: Sony 5, Epic 5, Kransen 3
Build: Kransen 5, Sony 4, Kransen 2
Design: Kransen 5, Sony 3, Epic 2
Mic: Kransen 5, Epic 3, Sony 0
Since comfort and bass are the most important factors for me, the Sony XB90EX wins. If the Kransen could find a way to put in a good amount more bass, that would be my winner though.
I hope these thoughts help you going forward. If you want a great general headphone with an unbeatable design, get the Kransen. If you want a good general headphone with great bass, get theSony. Pass on the Epic.
Kransen ($39.99): 4.4
Sony ($97.99): 4.2
Epic ($49.99): 3.2
He did however, seem to favor the Sony's best. Note that the Kransen is less than half the price of the Sony's.
Edited by halfinfinity - 2/5/14 at 2:15am
Sorry, I didn't want to seem like a jerk, I just have a short attention span and couldn't really read through the entire thing. I figured I'd be helping those who don't have long attention span's. I wasn't in any way trying to disqualify your opinion. Sorry, again, if it came across wrong.