Normally I have a pair of ATH-M50 both at home and work paired with a basic FIIO E7. I reasonably like it, but I planned on getting a pair of Alcalair Reference's based on their reviews and cost. While taking ear measurements, the audiologist which is also selling custom ACS IEMs convinced me to give the ACS T1 a spin with an option to return them if I dont like them.
So I gave them the go ahead, and 10 days later got my pair.
Fit was very good. Plugged it into my FIIO E7 connected to my laptop. Music was flac.
Although they sound nicely detailed, with very pleasant treble and warm, from the first moment something just seemed off to me.
I think the biggest issue was hearing some kind of reverb on the lower mid-bass that just rolls off and drowns out the mids and even the vocals sometimes.
For example, a slightly dense song like My Head is Animal - Little Talks, the whole mid section sounds like a compressed salad to me.
Also, Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah has become quite tiring to listen to.
Scarlet's independent love song (re-make by Stingray) is a total mess.
Other kinds of music also revels a slightly hollow sound sometimes in the high mids.
Surprisingly, the original Scarlet - Independent Love Song from '95 sounds quite good, and is one of the few I prefer listening too on the T1 due to the not as harsh treble.
Porcupine Tree - Trains also doesnt sound half bad on the T1.
Anyway, I was wondering what's going on, as these are highly praised IEMs, I listened to a 20-20Khz test tone, which according to my hearing showed some very noticeable dips in the mid spectrun (3K-10K). Much more noticeable than the M50s which also doesnt sound entirely flat, but the changes are much more subtle.
I dont have much experience with sound measurements at all, or any equipment to speak of.
I whipped up a headset with a microphone, and a copy of Room EQ Wizard 5.5 which I googled, and took some measurements. Boosted the mic by +30db since I didnt want to damage the headphones which were loaned to me.
On the graph the dip at 4KHz is quite visible.
I'm also no expert, but it seems there are much more noticeable harmonics on the T1 300MHz and 400MHz measurements.
So it puzzles me, these highly expensive IEMs that received pretty good reviews don't sound too good to me. As far as I can understand the graphs created with my clearly unprofessional equipment and knowledge, they don't look too bright.
So what am I missing here? It's just how these IEMs are? Could my FIIO E7 (Which I know is not brilliant) be to blame, although it shouldnt have trouble pushing these IEMs, and the volume setting is much lower than on the M50s? Could they just be a defective pair?
Not sure what to make of it, as my instinct is to just return them. It also makes me slightly concerned now about ordering the Alclair Reference which are much cheaper, blindly. I probably wont have an option to return them.
Would love your more experienced feedback.
Edited by Nemesis001 - 9/17/14 at 1:18am