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REVIEW: Ultimate Ears UE-10 Pro & Sensaphonics ProPhonic 2X-Soft - Page 3

post #31 of 271
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by raj
Based on my comments above which would you recommend for me the UE10Pro or the Sensaphonic 2XS.
raj, it seems to me that what really attracted you in both the E3 and CD3000 are the clear highs and forward midrange. E5, in comparison to the E3, has a much much more flat overall presentation, so the midrange that tend to be very clear and forward sounding is somewhat recessed. Both E3 and CD3000 has very clear highs, and although somewhat sibilant as well.

Based on these few issues, I would think that you might be happier with the UE-10 Pro, because the way it moves the vocal forward in certain recordings, as well as how it presents the highs in a very sharp and clear fashion.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Welly Wu
Thanks for your opinions. I want to ask you a question about the durability of both custom IEMs. With the silicone and soft acrylic materials, do you know what percentage of owners of both Sensaphonics and Ultimate Ears products have returned their custom IEMs back to the company for repairs? Also, do you think that comfort is derived from the quality of the ear impressions or the material with which the custom IEM is fashioned?
Welly, the difference in my comfort with both material comes from the material itself. Both IEM's fit perfectly in my ear, and can be worn for hours on end. The Sensa's soft silicone material is just a step above. It's very much like how ER-4 owners gets used to the ER-4 and has no problem with their comfort, but E5c is just that much more comfortable. It's the same thing here, anyone who's got a UE-10 will swear that it is the most comfortable thing they've ever had, 'til they get a 2X-S, and it's just that slight step above.

As far as the durability with the earphones itself. It's hard to say, if you think about it, soft silicone will allow the 2X-S a lot more flexibility, it can be squeezed and bent without breaking. On the other hand, hard acrylic can crack more easily under pressure. From the other point of view, you can slice up soft silicone easier than you can with hard acrylic. Either way, you're dealing with one type of durability issue versus another.

I recommend UE-10 owners to get the hard acrylic for now anyway. Reason being, the full-soft acrylic isn't anywhere near soft enough to really warrant the extra $50. I understand why UE came up with the material, it's basically because they had to compete against the silicone material that Sensaphonics started using. It give to such a small degree, and it really doesn't help all that much with maintaining the seal.

On top of that, I still remember seeing year old UE-7's that had soft acrylic material that's yellowed and shrunken. I've gotten the full-soft myself because I wanted to see exactly how soft is really is, and I want to see after a year of ownership, if the material will stand up to the test of time. Older versions of soft acrylic material definitely yellows and shrinks over time, but UE said their new version wouldn't. I'm hoping that's true.

If any member is waiting to purchase the UE say.. in maybe 6 months to a year, we'll see how that material hold up over time.

In comparison, I've had the silicone custom mold add-on for my E5c for quite a while now, and it's still the same shape, same color... really hasn't changed at all for the past year. I've basically just kept it sitting out on my desk.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Welly Wu
Switching to another point you made in your review, I want to ask you how much of a factor does system synergy play in shaping your opinion of the sonic performance of both custom IEMs?
Good point, in either scenarios, 2X-S continues to be the warmer headphone, and the UE-10 gets a bit warmer in the HR-2 combination. It gives the bass a little more body, and gives it some warmth that's missing coming directly out of the iPod. Overall though, it doesn't affect the comparison, because both headphone gets affected equally. 2X-S doesn't "leap" to a new level of performance, neither does UE-10.

I'm actually interested in seeing how much amplification matters in either case. I'm thinking about getting one of the cheaper Headsave amps and pairing them up against the HR-2 to see if either headphone really just "tops out" when they're paired with high quality amps. Both sound signature just held up pretty well and steady.


Quote:
Originally Posted by penbat
Mr Welly Wu, Lindrone must have started reviewing his UE-10s as soon as he got them while you waited a good week for burn-in before you started reviewing them. This has been an important lynchpin in your philosophy on the UE-10. Surely you are concerned about this ?
I burned in them for about 40 hours or so... and the sound signature really hasn't changed in my mind too much. I've dealt with way too many canalphones, and psychological burn-in is more than realistic burn-in with them, in my experiences. After 40 hours, nothing's changed.. so I don't think it'll really change for me after 100 or 200 hours either.

The only headphones where I experienced dramatic burn-in, was the Sony CD3000, and Sennheiser's product up and down the line. I didn't feel much of a burn-in with Shure E3c, E5c, Ety ER-4, and certainly not the 2X-S or the UE-10 either. I don't put my headphones through any burn-in exercise either, never did... I just leave it on the music I normally listen to and leave them on for hours and hours.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuberoller
You have funny looking ears
Hey buster!.. Let's see your ear out there for public display!!! *sob*.. *sob*... now I gotta save up for that ear augmentation surgery... wait, does that mean I'll have to get a new impression?! NO!!!!! Should've thought this one through!!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kikkoman
Overall I think that was a great review and lindrone really demonstrated that wether you like him on a personal level or not he is very valuable to the community.
Hehehe.. it also proves that you don't have to like the company behind the product to like their product. After all, I don't like Sony very much.. and I don't like Apple very much either. I have the iPod and CD3000... go figure


Overall, thanks for the praises, and spending however long you had to spend to go through that incredibly exhausting review.
post #32 of 271
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by penbat
I don't have any firsthand expertise yet myself on the UE-10s and i am not depending on my knowledge. My point is that Lindrone has ignored an important belief of Welly Wu who is something of a UE-10 guru and has heard them over a period of weeks and not 36 hours and is aware of changes in the sound over that period.
Penbat, your math is really bad. I got the UE-10 Pro late on Thursday afternoon and promptly started listening to it. Just as a rough estimate.. so I've had it for about 12 hours of burn in from Thursday night to morning... another 24 hours by Friday, another 24 by Saturday, and about another 10 by the Sunday when I'm finished with the review.

That gives me about 70 hours of total time to burn them in.. of course they weren't on the whole time.. so in between that there's about 40 hours of burn-in as it stands.

I listened to both headphones over and over again, consistently checking them as I was writing the review to make sure I didn't hear something that's not there. The sound signature of either headphone really didn't change over time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by random person
Regarding the nature of the fit, did you notice an appreciable difference between the two? For example, is the UE product somewhat tighter given their preference for a full-open mouth impression? If so, might that account for some of the differences in perceived comfort or sensation in the canal?
No, I guess there's some wrongful perception here. All IEM companies wants a full-open mouth impression, it's the same thing that Sensaphonics does with all their customers. The closed-mouth impression is only for hearing aids.

So there isn't much difference between the tightness of the earphones. However, the 2X-S feels "fuller" when it's in your ear, because the soft silicone really "hugs" the inside of your ear. The UE-10 just sits in your ear instead of "hugging" it. Yeah, I feel like I need much lovin' from my earphones.. hehehee..
post #33 of 271
Thanks for the review. The sonic difference is what I was suspecting... there's only so much you can do with very much the same driver although the difference between the triple and dual driver was interesting.


penbat, IEM's using balanced armature drivers have no real discernible burn-in characteristics. It's the way the drivers work... if it did make a difference under burn-in like cone phone drivers, the drivers wouldn't last long. The bigger difference is the psychological burn-in to get the brain used to the sound, the way the brain adapts to the sound of each phone. Reviewers who work with two or more phones don't experience this unless they use the phones one at a time for a while... day in, day out, then swap around. Otherwise you get a relative view and I think that's actually what most of us wanted in this scenario. And although the review criteria for the generic IEM's are hugely affected by fit, I think we can write that off the reviews for custom IEM's, right?


I guess it's the Prophonics for me. Or the UE. Both? No that's ridiculous. Yet...
post #34 of 271
lindrone: Nice work. Thank you for that.
post #35 of 271
Thanks for a great review Lindrone! As other, I have absolutly no interest in these phones, but non the less it was a good read. Thanks again.
post #36 of 271
Lindrone - NOW can I have the CD3000 for long term!!! maybe a permanent gift from you to me

I am serious
post #37 of 271
Lindrone:

That was an excellent review. In fact, it's quite possibly the best review I've read on this site. Although I am not currently interested in purchasing a high-end IEM, this review captivated my interest. Thanks again for a great contribution to this site.

Trevor
post #38 of 271
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsferrari
Lindrone - NOW can I have the CD3000 for long term!!! maybe a permanent gift from you to me

I am serious
LOL... no.. I think I still have to hang on to it... Believe it or not, thought has crossed my mind (Not the free gift part, but parting with the CD3000)... then I thought, if my friends come over and they see this headphone rig, but they have no headphone they can try on, they'll never understand...

They barely understand now, but.. you know.. it's okay.. They'll come around one day...
post #39 of 271
Lindrone,

Thanks for the review as it has confirmed my belief that I made the right choice with UE - I am really happy with the sound signature.

Overall it is an excellent read. I am going to attempt a review next week but I do have to agree on a couple of points. The first is about the prominent vocals, which is the first thing I noticed on a track that I normally found the vocals to be swamped by the music (Daft Punk - Around The World) but they were crystal clear. For me this made the rest of the track clearer, as the vocals were forward I could identify other subtleties in the music. I have to say I've not noticed any sibilance using my iHP-140 without amp so maybe the iPod is contributing to the phenomenon?

The other point is about the "soft" material. I agree it is a misnomer, but I find it really to reinsert when the material has softened in the ear. Also I do notice the seal is better when warmed, though this may be a reflection of individual impressions.

My aim was to get ER4 clarity with the bass response of the E5. I believe the UE-10 Pro exceeds both of these phones in their own area of expertise and I couldn't be happier. Now I have read what you said about the 2X-S I am even more certain I have made the right choice. Don't think that in anyway I am critising the 2X-S as they sound a great product and I am sure as a result of this review that more people will be ordering them.

A whole new debate can ensue between the owners of each. Maybe we could call it Shure vs Ety II - Payback!!
post #40 of 271
lindrone -- about those impressions. I was under the impression (ha!) from a previous post of yours that with the Sensas your mouth is partially open, whereas with the UE it is fully open. Indeed, you asked me if the UE was in fact too tight with the mouth closed as a result of the difference in impression methodology. Has Sensa now decided to go with the wide-open philosophy too? (Why, why am I asking these questions about minutiea(sp)? I mean, it's not like I'm gonna buy more canalphones -- I LOVES mine -- so why these detailed questions? Cuz I am just THAT WAY! And I think it might help others think about things. )
post #41 of 271
Big D -- Interesting about Daft Punk. ( I LOVE Daft Punk!) I find that in on my reference home system (with speakers) the vocals are way recessed and they are that way on my UE5c as well. So it does sound like the UE10Pro has a different balance than the UE5c. . . I am glad you love your UE10Pros!
post #42 of 271
Lindrone, great review. You rock. Nuff said.
post #43 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindrone
LOL... no.. I think I still have to hang on to it... Believe it or not, thought has crossed my mind (Not the free gift part, but parting with the CD3000)... then I thought, if my friends come over and they see this headphone rig, but they have no headphone they can try on, they'll never understand...

They barely understand now, but.. you know.. it's okay.. They'll come around one day...

Also, IMO, the reason why I'll never part with my CD3000's is that no matter how good a set of IEM's are, they'll never be able to reproduce the soundstage of the CD3000's. While they may be technically superior, they can't offer that same experience. BTW lindrone, as an E5 owner and a CD3000 owner, who greatly prefers the sound signature of the Sony's, which one of these IEM's would you recommend? From your review, I'd guess the UE-10's. Would I be right in my assumption?
post #44 of 271
I must admit that the Prophonics 2X-S looks far better than the UE-10 Pro in the ear and I like that a lot about the Prophonics. However, the way the sound of the two is described reasures me that the UE-10 Pro is the way to go. I get nervous whenever sounds are described as 'warm' since in my experience 'warmth' is very subjective and the last thing I want is a headphone with a dark presentation. The mid frequency hump on the UE-10 Pro exists, but it is less predominant than on the UE-5 Pro, and UE-7 Pro according to Jerry. This is also good. I don't mind a little mid frequency hump.

Wouldn't the Prophonics 2X-S sound as described be on par with the UE-5C? The UE-5C supposedly is more sensitive to low frequencies (deep to upper bass) than the UE-10 Pro. This translates to much more bass on the UE-5C than on the UE-10 Pro. The UE-5C is also flatter in the mid to extreme high range, which translates to a smoother transition from mid to high if you were to do a frequency sweep. Maybe random person can shed some light.
post #45 of 271
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big D
I have to say I've not noticed any sibilance using my iHP-140 without amp so maybe the iPod is contributing to the phenomenon?
Well, you have to take in account of how individual feel about sibilance. The UE-10 is more sibilant than the 2X-S, but it is on the same level as ER-4. However, I know a few Head-Fi member that has found even ER-4 too sibilant for their taste. I think it's just fine, but I like the sibilance control on the 2X-S more. So for those people who find the ER-4, CD3000, or Grados too sibilant for their taste, UE-10 will probably be as well.

The sibilance is not from the iPod, as it is apparent on my home system as well. It's just a subjective view of how much sibilance is too much


Quote:
Originally Posted by random person
lindrone -- about those impressions. I was under the impression (ha!) from a previous post of yours that with the Sensas your mouth is partially open, whereas with the UE it is fully open. Indeed, you asked me if the UE was in fact too tight with the mouth closed as a result of the difference in impression methodology. Has Sensa now decided to go with the wide-open philosophy too?
Actually, no, Sensa has always gone with the wide-open mouth philosophy in doing their impressions. It was my own fault. When my audiologist told me to open my mouth wide, I didn't think I had to open them *that* wide... so I opened them half-wide, and thought it would be enough. Luckily, given the soft silicone material, I was able to create a good seal even without a really proper impression.

Truth is, when I open my mouth really wide with the Sensa, for example, as much as yawning or something, the left seal separates. That has a lot to do with me not having opened my mouth fully. I'm too lazy to get it fixed though, as it'll take another set of impressions and another two week wait. It only happens at the very, largest opening of my mouth, so I don't really care about it that much.

In contrast, my UE impression was with my mouth as wide as possible, and the left seal still separates a bit under the same situation. So I guess my left ear is just giving me a lot of trouble. I would imagine if I used my first set of impressions for UE, I might have enough more trouble.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DJGeorgeT
Wouldn't the Prophonics 2X-S sound as described be on par with the UE-5C? The UE-5C supposedly is more sensitive to low frequencies (deep to upper bass) than the UE-10 Pro.
Probably not, because I noted that UE-10 Pro has the same amount of detail as the 2X-S. Unless UE-10 Pro only has the same amount of detail as UE5c, then 2X-S would not be in the same class as UE5c. Given utdeep's experience with UE5c, I say they're closer to the class of E5c rather than UE-10 Pro and 2X-S. Both UE-10 Pro and 2X-S has much more high-level detail.

Also, 2X-S produces more low-bass, it does *not* produce more mid-bass than the UE-10 Pro. The low-bass has more vibration and "rumble" in the sound, like I said, woofer-like. However, the mid-bass is much more punchy and less resonant. UE-10 Pro's midbass still terminates faster, but 2X-S isn't far behind.
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