-The SM3 pushes further the limits already infected with SM2 on universal in-ears. More ventilation...

EarSonics SM3 Universal Fit IEM

Average User Rating:
4.21667/5,
  • -The SM3 pushes further the limits already infected with SM2 on universal in-ears. More ventilation and a wider sound image, with more tense low frequencies and treble with incredible finesse. All this with the strict neutrality faithful to EarSonics.

    spécifications:

    Sensibilité: 122 dB/mW
    Réponse en fréquences: 20 Hz -18 kHz
    Impédance: 17 ohms
    Driver: 3 drivers (3 way crossover)
    Livré avec: wipes, tool, soft bag.

Recent User Reviews

  1. trebla
    3.5/5,
    "Nice headphones, musical and fun sounding, the V1 was frail"
    Pros - Nice tone, detailed highs, sounded fun!
    Cons - Build on the V1
    I really liked these headphones, they sounded more lush and substantial. When compares to other headphones I've owned in this price range I often chose them for their fun sound signature and cool looks. Easy to drive and sounded fully alive out of an ipod though they sounded kinda 'scratchy', switched to a Cowon J3 for a couple months but preferred ipod. They benefited from an amp but only in a minor fashion, the Ibasso D10 Cobra seemed a little too powerful in the low end which resulted in a bit of quietness in the high end with the J3s. In conclusion these headphones are source-picky, since they sure are sensitive and generally easy to drive. I liked them most out of my iphone, which was a treat.

    Very musical nice sounding; lush and with great detail. I very much liked their color and presentation of the music. Totally great! 
    The SM3 V1 had quirks which ended up compromising the headphone's usefulness. The stems where slick and the earplugs just slipped off at the end of their life. The cables where stiff platic and the housing cracked open (covered by warranty)
    Would recommend the V2 highly! 
  2. mrstrangeguy
    4.0/5,
    "Esoteric, unique, but is it timeless?"
    Pros - Relaxing sound signature done right, one-of-a-kind staging, Very even tonality
    Cons - Notably Recessed Treble, Unique presentation may not be for everyone, Clarity is just 'ok'
     
    Build/Accessories:
     
    The Earsonics SM3 is a triple balanced armature IEM, with one driver for the lows, one for the mids, and one for the treble region.  the shell is clear acryllic on the outside, and black on the ear-facing side, as seen from the picture, on both the inner and outer sides, there are physical "ES" letters engraved into the housing, an understated touch that many modern IEM manufacturers can learn from.
     
     

     
     
    The cables are non-removable, which was the norm when this IEM was released but is rather archaic nowadays, luckily, the cables themselves are nicely braided, with what appears to be thin, but tough material, there is no memory wire section (I don't mind either way but some prefer this way) and a thoughtfully designed y-splitter. Microphonics are little to non-existant when worn in the default over-ear style.
     

     
     
    The accessories for the IEM include:
    - 3 pairs of bi-flange silicone tips (S, M, L)
    - 2 pairs of Comply tips
    - 1 filter cleaning tool
    - 1 zippered carrying case to store them when not in use
     
     
    Ergonomics/Usability
     
    The housings are made of plastic, in a flat and boxy way, with squared-off corners that seems anachronistic given the designs coming out nowadays, these would be major marks off for ergonomics if not for a saving grace: the shells themselves are very small compared to modern competition, which means that these should fit in most ears without the edges causing discomfort, YMMV though. Also of note: Isolation is decent, but not great.
     
    Sound
     
    All listening and comparisons were done on the Hifiman HM650 (Balanced)
     
    Bass:
    Not what I expected at first, and definitely not what most would have in mind for "BA" bass. The bass is somewhat pronounced above neutral with good extension, and unlike the vast majority of its BA brethren, has great sustain and weight, which gives music great foundation and body that's rare with a lot of more modern BAs, and more akin to a dynamic driver in this regard. Unfortunately, this comes at the exchange of the speed and crispness that many high-end BA IEMs possess lower in the region. While the bass is pronounced, the rounded note presentation also means that it doesn't slam as hard, nor reveal as much texture as a quality DD IEM can, overall a nice, unique presentation.
     
    Mids:
    Leading on from the bass, there is some warmth in the lower mids, with the rounded note presentation also being a prominent feature of the mids. There is virtually no unevenness in this part of the frequency range, with vocals from both genders getting equal (good) treatment, sounding smooth, full-bodied and musical. The rounded note presentation, however, means clarity takes a step backwards, which may give the false impression that the SM3 are not particularly detailed, when it is actually pretty detailed in the mids, it's just that it takes more effort to notice the details. Which is just as well, since the other nice properties of the mids should be enough to compensate most of the time.
     
    Treble:
    Arguably the weakpoint of the SM-3's presentation, there is a clear recession from around 4-5k onwards before rising up to the 10k mark. The recession in this area means that some instruments have off timbre, electric guitar riffs lack crunch which gives them energy, while cymbals can sound dull and lack shimmer, for those that have experience with headphones from the Audeze LCD series, the treble is tonally akin to those headphones. On the upside, the recessed treble means that the SM3 is very forgiving of poorly mastered recordings, where harsh treble and sibilance may be an issue with more revealing gear.
     
     
    Soundstage:
    The uniqueness of the SM3's presentation is most apparent with the way staging and imaging is presented. The soundstage is not particularly wide, even by IEM standards, but depth is top-notch, making for a stage that is nearly spherical in nature, almost unheard of in the land of Headphones/IEMs. Which gives the feeling of music that envelops you, which may be a 'love it or hate it' feature, that aside, imaging is pretty good, with individual musical elements getting there own spots, but in a way that may not be the most accurate to the recording, an analogy would be staring up at the night sky and looking up at the stars, while each star is clearly seperated from the others, it's very hard to discern the relative distances of the stars from you, that would be analogous to the staging of the SM3, with each star being a musical element.
     
     
    Comparisons:
     

    EX1000 on the left, SM3 Center, Jupiter on the right
     
    Below are comparisons to various IEMs that I have experience with through ownership and A/B comparisons.
     
    Sony MDR-EX1000
    A legendary Dynamic IEM that is still seen a benchmark to this day, they are nearly polar opposites with the Earsonics in terms of tuning. Immediately, the most striking difference is that the Sony's have a much more energetic presentation and thinner notes, courtesy of significant treble emphasis, which includes prominent lower treble peaks that will put off a LOT of people. Needless to say, the Sonys are much more fatiguing and can be brutal with songs that the Earsonics has no problem handling, but in exchange, get stunning clarity and resolution through all frequencies in return. Bass is relatively shelved down on the Sonys, but provide marvelous texture and timbre that leaves the SM3 in the dust. (16mm dynamic driver doing wonders). Headstage is massively wide (in IEM terms) on the EX1000, bringing with it great imaging, but losing some intimacy in relation to the SM3. Macrodynamics on the EX1000 feel effortless in a way that can make the SM3 (and most other IEMs) feel compressed. Isolation and wind-noise are big disadvantages to the EX1000 for outdoor use.
     
    Campfire Jupiter
    Another Multi-BA (almost) flagship, but 5 years later. First impressions comparing the Campfire Jupiter to the Earsonics SM3 shows how much technology has progressed in the timeframe, the mids on the Jupiter are significantly cleaner, effortlessly retrieving microdetail not apparent in the SM3. The bass is more typical "BA" style in the best way possible, being extremely quick, utterly devoid of any bloat which may crop up with the slower bass of the SM3. The treble is also masterfully tuned on the Jupiter, providing plenty of sparkle and air lacking in the SM3 while being nearly as forgiving. One of the few spots where the SM3 claws back points is in the upper mids, which are very even on the SM3, but not so on the Jupiter, which can cause some weirdness with female vocals and a few instruments. Staging on the Jupiter is far more conventional, with excellent separation and imaging that handily trounces the Earsonics SM3's efforts, but loses the enveloping sensation that makes the SM3 so special.
     
    Summary
     
    Many years have passed by since the SM3 was getting top billing as a flagship, and the world of IEMs has moved on, for better or for worse, despite being surpassed, in both aspects of build and sound performance, there are still some intriguing qualities to the SM3 that make it, if not timeless, at least an interesting footnote that should be remembered.
  3. heovuitinh
    5.0/5,
    "good"
    Pros - good
    Cons - good
    good

User Comments

To view comments, simply sign up and become a member!