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Custom Arts Music Two CIEM Review

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Review Custom Art Music Two

 

Warning: This is an „amateur“ review. DUE TO LACK OF EXPERIENCE AS WELL AS LACK OF GEAR FOR COMPARISON, TAKE THIS AS AN SUJECTIVE OPINION RATHER THAN AS AN OBJECTIVE TEST.
This said I will be trying my best to be as objective as possible in my situation.

Please excuse any grammatical errors – English is not my mother tongue.

 

 

 

Backstory

It was a dark day, when in late November my trustworthy, old Sennheiser IEM7’s spirits left for a better place. After serving me for about 3 years a cable-related issue ripped them out of my life and left a void to be filled. Being kind of unsatisfied with them for the bigger part of 2013 I knew it was time to upgrade into a higher price range.

 

And thus began the hunt for new IEM’s in the 300-400€ price range. I researched Westone, Audeo, Shure, Stage Divers and the likes (To be fair I only got the opportunity to listen to the Westone UM-3 which were way too bassy for my taste). After hours of reading I had been sent to joker’s theheadphonelist,com quite some time. After finding the Music One and reading his review on it I was quite interested. A actually great sounding CIEM for 189€? So I started to research more on the matter which lead me back to head-fi.

 

After giving it some thought I finally decided to go for the newly released Music Two. I wrote Piotr a mail with my order at about 23:30 and got a response mere 15 minutes later (so much about real customer service). I want to emphasize this point: There wasn’t a single question I had to wait longer than a few hours for the answer (unless it was in the middle of the night – I’m talking 3a.m. or something like that), most of the time I only had to wait about 10 minutes. This guy’s customer service is incredible. No discussion. After sending the impressions in mid December I had to wait a little longer than usual for my CIEMs because of company vacation over the holidays, but on 22-01-2013 they finally arrived in the mail.

 

Restlessly I opened the package and more or less ripped off the envelope to be presented with a simple black cardboard box in my trembling hands.

 

 

Inside, waiting for my eager hands to open it, I found a Peli Box in which the Music Two were waiting patiently for me. Additionally the box contained a small, black carrying case with my ear prints.

 

 

I had been going with transparent green – admittedly a little fancy, but I wanted something special – and had ordered them with detachable cables. While he had first told me, that detachable cables wouldn’t be possible because of the size of my ears Piotr had still been able to do it which surprised me even more and for sure made me one happy audio-crazed panda. 

 

IMG_20140124_132938 (1).jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fit, Cable and overall Quality

The custom silicone shells, made with Piotr’s instructions in mind, fit perfectly. I’ve never achieved such a great fit or isolation with in-ears before. They sit nicely in my ear and I’ve been wearing them for 8 hours without a break to test them on the first day, programming, eating, going for a walk and in the gym. I never had a second where I felt like they shells were uncomfortable or not sitting exactly where they should. I also experienced no microphonics whatsoever, not even while eating.


If you were gluing them onto your ear, they couldn’t sit better during movements.

 

The cable seems standard quality, gold-plated plug, low cable noise. My points of criticism are more with the material. I would have preferred a more flexible, softer cable and no memory-thingy (I really don’t know how to call it) around the ears. Also the Y split seems to be too far up for my liking – about sternum height for a 170cm/5’6’’ guy like me. But that’s all up to personal preference I guess.

 

The IEMs feel high quality are a little glossy thanks to the finish, which is also antibacterial as I understand. On the outside facing side there is a circle on each IEM where the material’s even surface breaks a little.

 

 

 

MOST IMPORTANT THING: SOUND

Before you read on I want to stress my first warning again. I am a university student with a limited budget so my Gear and experience is still small. Yet, I believe that being in possession of a set of fairly high quality powered speakers I have educated my ear to be more susceptible to production and the difference in sound signature of different gear (with and without DAC, different Cans, different speaker systems). Unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of being able to compare several IEMs with each other. So in order to rate these headphones I’ll be comparing them with my closed-back K550’s and my powered stereo system (Heco Acterior 2000), which I am very familiar with. The stereo system is by far the best part of my gear. They were in regular use at a big radio station in Germany from 1989 up until the first decade of this millennium.

 

Gear used: 
Laptop USB OUT -> Meridian Explorer -> Custom Art Music Two (255€)
Laptop USB OUT -> Meridian Explorer -> AKG K550 (135€)
Laptop USB OUT -> Meridian Explorer -> Heco Acterior 2000 (~1700$ in 1989)

 

I’ll first describe the sound in different categories, then I’ll be writing up my thoughts on a few tracks I know in and out.

 

Bass (9/10): The bass is quite powerful, although it is definitely set back compared to the highs and mids. It is full of volume and survived all of my tests frequency-wise with ease. Sometimes it seems like the decay is a little slow, but I’m not 100% sure on that. I really enjoy that the bass range seems to be quite linear.
Personally I’d prefer it to be a tad little tighter and precise in some cases.

 

Mids (8/10): The mids sound quite natural to me, although the higher mids seem to be a little too accentuated. At higher listening levels this became a problem for me personally in some cases.

 

Highs (10/10): This is where the Music Two absolutely shine. Trebles are refined, non-fatiguing for me and seem beautifully detailedin every way.

 

Imaging (10/10): The Music Twos do a great job of showing detail, splitting the sound while sounding beautifully musical.

 

Soundstage (8/10): The soundstage is of course that of an IEM which naturally is very small. Still I found myself to be surprised how the great Miles’ Davis Kind of Blue was reproduced.

 

Overall Soundsignature (9/10): The sound signature of the Music Two is quite warm, yet smooth and refined leaning towards a brighter sound while still packing a lot of punch if needed. Resolution is absolutely stunning, while the soundstage is good for IEMs. I find them very pleasing to listen to, although at some times  at higher volume the high mids were too dominant for my personal taste. The Music Twos are a very musical sounding IEM.

 

 

 

BEFORE YOU MOVE ON, KEEP IN MIND, THAT I COMPARE TO AN OVER-EAR HEADPHONE AND STEREO-SPEAKERS, SO IN SOUNDSTAGE COMPARISON THE MUSIC TWO’S WILL ALWAYS BE INFERIOR DUE TO BEING IEMs.

 

 

Miles Davis – So What (Kind of Blue remastered) - Jazz

I was impressed by the soundstage, the sax seeming to be out of my head floating besides and in front of me. The trebles were beautifully refined and very pleasing to listen to, smooth, soft yet – just absolutely beautiful.

8/10

 

 

 

 

 

Infected Mushroom – Sa’eed (Legend of the Black Shawarma) - Trance

The soundstage leaves a little to be desired, especially in the beginning with the drums. The resolution is absolutely great even with the very complex sound towards the finale. The Music Twos play this song in a way so musical I haven’t experienced yet – a little too imprecise for my taste.

7.5/10

 

 

 

 

 

Vaetxh – Cuntpressor (Libet Tones) – I really don’t know what kind of Genre… Transformersex I guess?

This absolutely blew my mind. The Music Twos show that they are really capable of DEEP and impactful bass without sacrificing anything in mids and trebles. The resolution is great and I’m just really really impressed how easy the Music Twos seem to reproduce this without any loss in regards of quality in comparison to the Hecos. Again – Woah.

10/10

 

 

 

 

 

Massive Attack – Inertia Creeps (Mezzanine) – Trip Hop

Again I’m impressed by the resolution of these IEMs. The small crackling in the beginning, the space of the drums, every instrument seems to be pictured for itself to finally produce a perfect composition. The only thing that could be better is soundstage. The listener doesn’t have to concentrate to be presented with the components of the song. Yet the Music Twos do this in a very musical way in comparison to the Hecos which seem to coldly analyze the sound.
Great listen with these IEMs.

9.5/10

 

 

 

 

Notorious B.I.G. – Gimme The Loot (Superginger Remix) - Glitch

The Bass presence is again great without being overwhelming. The inferior production quality – in comparison with the before mentioned songs – definitely shows. In comparison to the Hecos the Music Twos are way more forgiving though.

9/10

 

 

 

 

Brian Tyler - Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Main Theme – Soundtrack

Again very refined, detailed and very musical. I’d prefer it to be a little more analytical, but in this case this is highly personal preference.

8/10

 

 

 

 

 

Deadmau5 – Fn Pig ( >insert album title here< ) – Electro

Great Detail! The little “jumps” in the beginning are clearly to be heard, the ambient sound doesn’t wash away the resolution. The way the synth slowly forms out of the ambient sound is spectacular with these, although not as clear as with the Hecos. They make this song sound more natural which may or may not be a good thing. In my opinion they do this great!

9/10

 

 

 

 

K550 Comparison: The K550s sound lush in comparison to the Music Twos. The highs are less smooth and the whole lower body seams weak in comparison to the Music Twos. They still beat the Music Twos in terms of soundstage. Music Twos sounded way more natural and detailed.

 

Heco Acterior 2000 Comparison: The Hecos of course easily beat the Music Twos in terms of soundstage. The mids are more held back, overall a colder, more precise yet less musical sound. I would still rate the Acterior higher in every term despite of low-end response. Overall these sound very different, since the Acteriors are very analytic while the Music Twos are very musical.

 

Any constructive criticism, request and questions are highly encouraged.

 

 

 

TL;DR: I'd definitely buy them again and I'm impressed how much of a CIEM you can get for such little money.


Edited by zebRAW - 1/24/14 at 5:39am
post #2 of 20

Thanks for a great review!

Just wondering if you could try them out with some music from the rock and metal genres to see how they sound like?

post #3 of 20

Thank you zebRAW, that's a great read! I'm so glad you like your "M2"

post #4 of 20

Thank you ! Very nice impressions !

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obsydion View Post
 

Thanks for a great review!

Just wondering if you could try them out with some music from the rock and metal genres to see how they sound like?

Of course I'd do that. But I have a very limited collection of rock and metal in good quality with which I'm familiar.

So either you'd have to settle for Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Opeth, Devildriver and the likes or you'd have to tell me 2 or 3 things which you'd want me to try them with.

post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebRAW View Post
 

Of course I'd do that. But I have a very limited collection of rock and metal in good quality with which I'm familiar.

So either you'd have to settle for Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Opeth, Devildriver and the likes or you'd have to tell me 2 or 3 things which you'd want me to try them with.

You picked some good bands there!  I'd say two songs from Opeth would cover the spectrum, good mix of production and mastering so you can find good quality tracks. Leaning towards vocals and acoustics I suggest the song 'Hope Leaves'. For something much heavier and fuller I suggest 'Deliverance'.

post #7 of 20

Great review zebRAW!

 

I agree with your review, i'd also like to add that the bass extension is excellent.

 

My pair of Music Two is a State of ART design with further customizations done to it compared to what you can normally get and with non-detachable cables. Decided to do this due to this being my first CIEM and wanting it to be special. I ordered my Music Two with a different artwork on each earphone piece. One of the artwork i feared was a bit too complicated to be done onto silicone but it turned out great. My Music Two fit is also perfect with no discomfort and after about 10 minutes they feel like they're not even there anymore.

 

I opted out of the detachable cables (this might become one of my regrets) as i was afraid about possible damage to the pins and that they might snap off and be left stuck in the earphones. The silicone provides the cable with great strain relief so hopefully it can last me awhile. My non-detachable cable did not have memory wire on it and this makes me happy.

 

I agree that the length of wire available after the Y split could be increased. Though this can be fixed easily if you have detachable cables but it personally doesn't bother me. I measured the length of wire available after the Y split and got 26cm (10.23 inches). With the earphone in and the wire over my ear i measured a length of 16cm (6.29 inches) starting from the wire at my ear lobe to the Y split. The Y split is about at my sternum as well though this and of course the measurements may vary between others.

post #8 of 20

Thanks for the review! How do you feel about the detachable cable in terms of "build quality of the connector"?

post #9 of 20
Loving the review, very good would you say that these are the best fitting sets you ever owned?
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EpicAnthony View Post

Loving the review, very good would you say that these are the best fitting sets you ever owned?

Without a doubt. I haven't had Customs before though. But they beat any universals I've ever possessed by far in terms of comfort and isolation.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhcabinian View Post
 

Thanks for the review! How do you feel about the detachable cable in terms of "build quality of the connector"?

The connectors seem to work quite well and sit tightly. I've already disconnected and reconnected them a few times and didn't find anything to complain. I've never had IEMs with detachable cables before though.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by obsydion View Post
 

You picked some good bands there!  I'd say two songs from Opeth would cover the spectrum, good mix of production and mastering so you can find good quality tracks. Leaning towards vocals and acoustics I suggest the song 'Hope Leaves'. For something much heavier and fuller I suggest 'Deliverance'.

I'll get to that tomorrow since I'm not at home right now so I can't really compare. I don't have access to 'Deliverance' though. So if you have another recommendation that would be great. I could also offer Type O Negative if that helps. 

post #11 of 20

Thanks for the review! Being that this is a warmer signature, I'm particularly interested in how natural drumkit sounds in rock music. 

post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaed View Post
 

Thanks for the review! Being that this is a warmer signature, I'm particularly interested in how natural drumkit sounds in rock music. 

I've played drums for a number of years though i haven't played in a while as i don't own a drum kit. How the drums are recorded and with what equipment can change depending on artist/studio/album but generally to MY ears the bass drum and tom toms sounds about right with the cymbals and snare drums needing to be just a tad sharper.

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by xSteves View Post
 

I've played drums for a number of years though i haven't played in a while as i don't own a drum kit. How the drums are recorded and with what equipment can change depending on artist/studio/album but generally to MY ears the bass drum and tom toms sounds about right with the cymbals and snare drums needing to be just a tad sharper.


Thanks, xSteves, I appreciate your answer, and definitely agree that drumkit obviously varies a lot (when cymbals clip... *shivers*).

I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I see that you own 3.2 Mad Dogs. Would you mind being troubled for a quick comparison for the two? I'm getting the impression that they're going to be brighter than the MD's since the MD's have a pretty smooth treble response, and perhaps a similar warmth and bassiness throughout the rest of the spectrum?

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaed View Post


I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I see that you own 3.2 Mad Dogs. Would you mind being troubled for a quick comparison for the two? I'm getting the impression that they're going to be brighter than the MD's since the MD's have a pretty smooth treble response, and perhaps a similar warmth and bassiness throughout the rest of the spectrum?

To my ears the Mad Dogs are definitely brighter (drums sounds natural to me with the mad dogs), the music two has more bass but the bass on the mad dogs are tighter/decay a bit faster. To be short the mad dogs are neutral with a bit of bass emphasis and the music two warmer compared to the mad dogs. Take this comparison with a grain of salt and also the fact that headphones and earphones are completely different. I find myself continuously picking up the music two instead of the mad dogs as i find them more enjoyable to listen to and the added isolation is a big bonus.

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebRAW View Post

I've already disconnected and reconnected them a few times and didn't find anything to complain. I've never had IEMs with detachable cables before though.

Do it carefully. You know it, right? And as far as I'm concern it is better not to connect and disconnectthe cable oftenly, even in the acrylic CIEMs.
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