InEar StageDiver SD-3

Average User Rating:
4.375/5,
  1. Krisman
    3.0/5,
    "For 'fun' listening only, not a serious HiFi earphone"
    Pros - Build quality, bass extension, fun factor
    Cons - Smeary mids, recessed vocals, U shaped response
    Will keep this review short but these are my impressions after a week of listening to a range of FLAC and a few HD files of every main genre of music:
     
    Sources used:
    FiiO X5
    Sony NW-ZX1
    Audiolab 8200DQ Dac/Amp
     
    Highs:
    Detailed but at this price point you can get a lot more 'detail' for your money. Highs are not very well seperated or is the soundstage very deep. The soundstage is very wide and not exaggerated. These are not fatiguing so that is good as I am particularly sensitive to treble.
     
    Mids:
    For earphones of this price I found the mids to be very poor. Completely lacking in detail when compared with something like the Westone 4R/Sony XBA-4 and Sennheiser IE800. The mids are very smeared and blend into each other in a very annoying way. They lack detail and some instruments are almost non-existent in the soundstage. Very unnatural sounding and some vocals sound 'nasally' which a thrum that just isn't there on other earphones/speakers.
     
    Bass:
    The savior of these earphones are the bass. Very well extended, lush and detailed. More like a full headphone experience. Great fun and adds to the enjoyment of most records. Not accurate in terms of the amount of bass present in the original recordings but if you are not bothered by that then these could be a great ear phone for bass lovers.
     
    Overall:
    Very disappointing given the price point and really do not stand out from the crowd. I cannot fault the build quality and cabling used but that does not make up for the gaping flaws in the audio performance. These are not accurate, soundstage is very wide but flat and the micro details that are available for a lot less money are simply not there. I can only recommend these for people who are looking for a 'fun' listen with an emphasis on bass presentation. I must also add that the sources did make a little difference to the presentation of the highs but not by a great deal.
  2. Virtu Fortuna
    5.0/5,
    "The Custom - Universal"
    Pros - Perfect isolation, great fit, outstanding build quality, warm non fatiguing sound, brilliant soundstage, strong bass, no sibilance
    Cons - A little uncomfortable in long sessions, carrying case is too big, can be very bassy and dark for some (not me), price
    These babys will give you everthing you need from an high and IEM. Very strong bass presence, realistic and detailed mids, and non fatiguing smooth, detailed treble. 
     
    I think they are the final step before the customs, and if you think about their isolation, maybe you don't need a custom IEM if you have these. These IEM's are one of the greatest solutions for those who don't want to be involved in a CIEM process, but want a great isolation and sound quality.
     
    I owned GR07, Westone 3, Westone 4R, Westone Um Pro 30 before these. And I can clearly say that those IEM's are cannot be compared to these monsters. Period.
     
    Maybe Shure SE846 can compete with these, which I didn't have a chance to listen. I'm just guessing. 
     
    Get these IEM's if you have the budget. You won't be disappointed. It deserves every dollar you pay for.
  3. Ultrazino
    4.5/5,
    "Personal Reference for Bass-Heavy IEMs"
    Pros - build quality, comfort, isolation, soundstage, resolution, cohesion, treble extension
    Cons - very warm tuning
    Full review here:
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/664229/review-inear-stagediver-series
  4. Carlsan
    5.0/5,
    "SD3's are not just for electronic music"
    Pros - Deep and detailed bass, but it's all controlled. Great soundstage, excellent natural resolution to instruments.
    Cons - A few times thought they were bright, not mentioned in review because quality of tracks weren't the best.
    Tested on various classical and jazz pieces, found the SD3 to give commanding performance on all. Note, I used high quality flac versions of all songs tested.
     
    SD3's are about two days old and have about 8 hours on them, hardly broken in.
    They were bought from this shop and imported into the states at the regular retail price.
    Eartips used were Sony hybrids, peach inner color.
    Equipment used: Burson Audio Soloist, Eastern Electric Minimax Tube Dac with Musical Fideltiy V-Link for usb support with a Windows pc (self built). As just mentioned, flac files, played through foobar at default settings, no eq used.
     
    Acoustic jazz (Fred Hersh - Heartsong, McCoy Tyner - Miss Bea,  Lenny Andrade - Maiden Voyage)
    Saxophones sound full and rich with that great open sound that they have, pianos have that percussive quality as they should, bass is natural and noticeable but as part of the general sound presentation as required by the music - equal with other instruments, not lost, but not in your face. Lead instruments, such as trumpets, take center stage and are the obvious lead performers during the solos. While all the obvious rhythm instruments, piano, drums, bass all do their parts without being lost. Bass are warm and sweet, cymbals crisp and never lost in the mix.
    In Lenny's interpretation of Maiden Voyager, her voice is immediate, earthy, and sensuous. She sounds like she's singing right next to you, while the bass, piano, and other instruments are a few feet away. Bass has excellent decay on this song, staying just long enough as a fine glass of red wine would on ones taste palate as it's being sipped. Yet, never getting in the way of any other instrument or Lenny's vocals.
    Overall, great atmosphere, with excellent wide sound stage, and natural sounding tones.
    I can see why the SD3 would be loved by a stage musician.
     
    Vocal music (using Chesky Records - The Ultimate Demonstration Disk - There is a Rose in Spanish Harlem - Rebeca Pidgeon
    This song starts with a bass lead, quickly followed by Rebeca's vocals taking center stage, bass politely going into its background rhythm mode, Rebeca's vocals sound natural and full, you can hear her breathing at times, but  never sibilant. Piano comes in sounding as natural as one would expect. Strings come in later, sounding rich and lush as expected in this type of music. Constanellas (sp?) play in the background, sounding quite natural.
    Rebeca's vocals control the center stage, in my teen years I loved the original version of this song, Rebeca's interpretation of the song, as heard on my SD3 is just amazing, sends goosebumps up my spine - no really. Again, I'm sitting right next to Rebecca, my wife is going  to get jealous.
     
    I can go on and on, depth reproduction, sound stage, all sound excellent.
     
    Classical test: From Chesky Records - The Ultimate Demonstration Disk -Britten- Festival Te Deum- Westminster Choir
    Okay, I'm sitting in the middle of the church, with the choir's sound enveloping me. The microphone for this performance was hung from the air above the choir, and that is how it comes off with the SD3, you get a sense of openness with the sound, choir hits all the notes clearly and distinctly. The organ has a slight bit of warmth, but that is intentional. Organ is firmly in the background, vocals very upfront. Notes change quickly in the later part of this performance, and all is handled well.
    Stravinsky- The Royal March -Solisti New York
    This piece has many changes in musical volume, and instruments coming in and out of the sound, making for a good test for complex classical movements. The piece starts off with a march motif, which it comes back to several times. Again, the SD3 handles all the changes well, including the volume changes throughout, the  speed of the trumpets,  and the the drums. The drums and horns sound clear and again, natural.
     
    Solo bass - very natural with great decay, nice bass detail.
    Solo drums - again, very natural with clear and nice prat. Cymbals sound natural.
     
    Finally - going back to the pop side of things:
     
    James Blake - limit to your love:
    James vocals sound soulful and rich, piano accompaniment sounds natural and spot on, then at about 50-60 seconds into the song, your ears just go WOW.
     
    Final words, SD3's are not just for electronic music as they may have originally been intended. Musical reproduction is first rate, with an easy and commanding handling of all genres tested, classical, jazz, and vocal music. As has been said, bass reproduction is deep and detailed, but appropriate for the recording.
     
    I'm quite happy with my SD3's.
    PETEREK and Music225 like this.