Sensaphonics 3D-U AARO System - 3D-2

General Information

With its universal-fit 3D-U Active Ambient earpieces, 3D-U AARO brings the full-featured versatility of the 3D to shared-use situations like sound rental and house of worship. Also a great spare for custom 3D AARO users!

Say good-bye to the hassles of miking the audience! Our patented Active Ambient technology solves the IEM “isolation issue” by capturing ambient sound with embedded full-range binaural microphones.

The 3D is the only system that truly allows IEM users to “get their ears back” by providing the missing stage ambience, full-range and undistorted, with both earphones in place. It offers controlled isolation from extreme volume with superb sound quality, zero latency and no crossover distortion.

The 3D-U AARO system also provides:
• Record Out – a 3.5-mm mini-jack that provides access to the ambient sound from the system’s binaural earphone mics, with full 3D directionality. By sending this output to a digital recorder, it is now possible to capture the 3D experience. Great for live concert recording, rehearsals, and field recording.
• Bass Boost – This internal switch allows the user to select a +10 dB boost to bass response when needed. This new feature is great for DJs, bass players and drummers, providing the extra “boom” that so many desire.
• 3D-U universal-fit Active Ambient earphones. Our proprietary drivers provide full-range response without crossover distortion, and are available in single or dual-driver versions. The 3D-printed shells are jet black for a sleek look. Our famed silicone custom sleeves (SCS) are available as an option.
• SensaQuad cable system – Industry-first quadraxial (4-lead) cable carries both the monitor mix and ambient audio to (and from) the 3D bodypack mixer, providing a roadworthy plug-and-play replaceable cable solution. Available now for 3D-U universal earphones.

The 3D secret is embedding a full-range binaural microphone system in the 3D earphones, custom-tuned to pick up natural ambience – with no distortion up to 140 dB! That ambient sound can be added to the monitor mix as desired, and can even be ported to an outboard recording device via the Microphones Out jack. No other company has achieved anything close.

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moedawg140

Grand Master Moe "G"….Don't crossface me, bro!
Ping Pong Champ: SF Meet (2016,2017), CanJams (London 2016, RMAF 2016, NYC 2017, SoCal 2017, RMAF 2017)
Pros: Smooth and immensely bassy sound, with sheer ambient versatility.
Cons: I wish that a next-version AARO system will provide a full ambient button that turns off the volume from the mixer/connected device.
Review: Sensaphonics 3D-U AARO System - 3D-2

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Before I start the review, I would like to thank Sensaphonics for the complementary system.


Introduction

It has been a full circle up to this point with regards to Sensaphonics in more ways than one. Not only with regards to the Sensaphonics Custom Sleeves for the Shure SE846 which was my very first review on Head-Fi, but with regards to the fact that there is a product out on the market from Sensaphonics that is an evolution of audiophiles and music lovers’ favorite pastime: listening to music through exciting and enriching gear!

Even though Sensaphonics is one of the first in-ear companies in the market, Sensaphonics has been able to create products that sound really good to my ears like the 2MAX and 3MAX CIEMs, but also create a relevant product from literally the ground up, that has been patented and not duplicated in the same way by any other manufacturer on the planet. The product is called the 3D-U AARO (Active Ambient Record Out) System - 3D-2. The 3D-1 version features one balanced armature driver, and the 3D-2 features two balanced armature drivers. In order to keep the name shorter as I write about the system, I will call it the 3D-U2, to denote the 3D-U system as well as the 3D-2 being the two driver version. The single driver version that will be compared later will be called the 3D-U1.

I will condense the review so it isn’t super duper drawn out since there is good and thorough documentation about using the system in the accompanied manual, but I will point out what each area of the system will do and my preferred setup or tips that I can share, especially to those that want to use the system mainly for listening to great sounding music and/or effectively listening to outside noise without having to remove your earphones.

Ready? Let’s go!


Audio equipment used in the review

Earphone

Sensaphonics 3D-U AARO System 3D-2: Starting at $1,500

For reference:

3D-U AARO (universal-fit)

Single driver $1,500

Dual driver $1,800


3D AARO (custom-fit)

Single driver $2,000

Dual driver $2,500


Earphones mentioned and compared

Sensaphonics 3D-U AARO System 3D-1: Starting at $1,500

Shure SE846: ~$1,000

Ultimate Ears Pro Reference Remastered: $999


Sources

iPhone 6: (Space Gray, 128GB): $849.99 or $399.99 with a 2-Year Contract

Microsoft Surface Book: Starting at $1,499

Questyle Audio QP1R Golden: $899 USD


Software Applications Used

Spotify Premium – Extreme Setting

TIDAL HiFi – Lossless


An avid wrestler, coach, teacher, father and mentor, I like to immerse music lovers in headphones, earphones and sources that do nothing but make the listeners smile.

In October of 2017, I had an aneurysm and a rare brain tumor that were found in a Bulgarian hospital, and both the aneurysm and brain tumor were removed in Germany. I am grateful and blessed to be alive and happy to have the honor to listen to audio gear and enjoy the music.

As a result, I was not able to hear for a few days, but my hearing has gotten a lot better since the craniotomy and ventriculostomy surgeries. These days, I’m currently good to go with regards to my hearing. Even if my hearing is perfect or not so perfect, what I hear may or may not match what you hear, for a multitude of reasons (genetic, physical, psychological, age, et cetera).

My music preferences are anything that has a great beat to it, not too vulgar in nature and anything that can induce head-bobbing, toe-tapping and maybe even dancing if the mood is right. I normally listen to (alphabetically): Alternative, Classical, Hip-Hop, Indie, Popular/Top Hits, Rock, and R&B/Soul. I will even from time to time listen to Blues, Jazz, Modern Electronic, Retro/Classics, and World.

Measurements - I measure headphone output dB with my decibel measure app that anyone can download, replicate and have an instant reference with what I use to test. Frequency spectrum measurements are seldom posted, as the manufacturer’s measurements are usually the best guidelines to go by. Why? They use them to tune their equipment, and the measurements are from their own specific parameters. I agree with Ken Ball from ALO’s overall statement/post when it comes to frequency response measurements (verbatim):

“…I thought it might be good to post some frequency response measurements first before we see a lot of variations posted by people. Without going into a long drawn out thesis / debate on measurements I just want to say that I have not seen any reviewers measurements that are accurate and it can be difficult to interpret a freq measurement. I don't use HRTF compensation curve on my measurements because I am familiar with the raw freq curve so when I see a curve I know what it sounds like and am comfortable with what I am seeing. So to state my measurement so I can be happy that this is the official freq I am posting it here now. I do not really want to get into any debates on what the freq means or read into it too much as a freq measurement is only a very small part of the over all picture of the product. I would MUCH rather listen to the IEM than read a freq.

In addition, I dont want to sound like I dont welcome people to also have fun and measure, but just want to say that taking a accurate measurement is tricky, also tricky to read into the measurement. I spent over $15,000 on on measurement system and it took me almost a year with professional help to calibrate and set it up 100%. So in doing so it is expensive and can be difficult to set up and calibrate. I know my set up is accurate because I send my IEMs to independent labs to double check everything.”

I also had the chance to talk with Dan Wiggins from perodic audio at various audio events and has been very enlightening to talk audio with him. Here are Mr. Wiggins’ thoughts on measurements (verbatim):

“Hi all,

Wanted to toss my $0.02 into the mix...

For those that know who I am, then you know I have a bit of a reputation in the industry (good). For those that don't, I can guarantee you've heard my work if you've ever listened to live or recorded music. From recording microphones to studio monitors to PA systems to consumer systems, I've designed audio systems and transducers for pretty much all the big players - and done so many, many times (not to mention lots of headphones and IEMs along the way).

In my experience, measurement correlation between systems is hard to first establish and even more difficult to maintain. Datasets within a measurement system/location/team can be fairly consistent over time as long as the equipment is rigorously maintained, processes are slavishly followed, and the team cares greatly about consistency. Otherwise - all bets are off.

In production of audio systems, we use "golden samples" - we use a very small number of selected reference units that are deemed as "ideal". A day's production usually starts with the online production test systems measuring the golden sample, then tolerances are set accordingly to that measurement. All production must pass within the tolerance window, and the few (typically one or two a week) that essentially have no deviation from the golden sample are culled out and reserved as future, replacement "golden samples" (the tolerance can be discussed later, but suffice to say it is probably an order of magnitude larger than most HeadFi'ers would expect).

In other words, we use physical representations to calibrate against, rather than abstract numbers and concepts. It all comes down to how measurements can change from not just system to system or operator to operator but day to day. Temperature and humidity can affect measurements in significant manners. Environmental noise can - and definitely will! - corrupt measurements. Different mountings of DUTs (Device Under Test) by operators will affect measurements.

In essence, after installing literally hundreds (perhaps over a thousand) acoustic test systems, at dozens of factories in dozens of countries, I can confidently say that expecting consistency between two or more systems is a fool's errand. Won't happen.

Measurements are a great way to confirm you are getting what you expect, and to document where you are. And they are relevant within the same local world (equipment, team, environment). They can be used to guide design of product by a team, a team that is familiar and experienced with what measurement X really means in terms of what they are designing.

So with that, measurement correlation between different teams is never really expected, nor should it be. In fact, I start to get nervous if things line up too well! Great consistency tells me either the wrong settings are being used (we're not looking at a fine enough level of detail - we're oversmoothing/over-interpolating), or some fudging is going on to make things look closer than they really are.

All that said - don't expect measurements from one person to closely track that of another. Look at how products vary inside each measurement set, and assume the variances are at least relative - that is much more instructive. If one system is hot or cold in the treble, it will be consistently hot or cold, and you'll see that as you compare larger datasets between different systems. That is what we should pay attention to, rather than a few cherry-picked comparisons.”

Measurements are possibly valid to obtain a glimpse or gist of what we are hearing, but measurements are not the end all be all. Various manufacturers have told me privately that even though it may measure flat, it may not sound flat. Also, measurement devices do not equal our brain and cannot measure with absolute 100 percent certainty with regards to what we hear and feel. I listen with my ears, and write based on my interpretations of the music that is being presented to me.

A wise man once told me: "Music is the only thing that doesn't have war, pestilence, garbage, crap - music is so general, it's such a beautiful canopy of peace."


Inside the box

Let’s start off with the box itself. It is hard plastic Pelican brand with an air pressure release valve, and is the best option to keep your system in place and safely secure. I would advise always keeping your system in the box, as there are a lot of internal components inside the 3D AARO System bodypack. You’ll see:

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User Guide
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1 Ambient earphone cable, 52-inch, dual ⅛ in TRRS connectors

1 3D-AARO jumper cable, black 12-inch ⅛ in TRS stereo connectors

1 Pelican storage case

1 Cleaning tool

1 Shirt clip

3D-U eartips: mushroom style in S, M, L

Comply Tsx-100 eartips in S, M, L

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Build and aesthetics

This is a quality-built product that is meant primarily for musicians, so you know the durability is top-notch...it has to be. You can’t (or at least shouldn’t) have a product that malfunctions during a musician’s set. The 3D-U2 is a dream come true for a musician, knowing that the product is one-of-a-kind, dependable, and optimal in most every way.
3D-U AARO System 3D-1 and 3D-U AARO System 3D-2
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The housing offers a 3D printed custom-like mold, in a universal shell. Each 3D-printed shell contains a condenser microphone that is embedded inside, forming a “binaural pickup system”. The blue colored mic port denotes the left side monitor, and the red colored mic port denotes the right side monitor. Each mic port contains grey filters which protects the microphones from dirt and debris.

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The nozzles are narrow, and are similar to Shure and Etymotic’s, meaning every compatible narrow eartip will fit the 3D-U2 as well. Inside of each housing is an embedded full-range binaural microphone! More about this later.

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The cable is an Industry-first quadraxial (4-lead) cable that carries both the monitor mix and ambient audio to and from the 3D bodypack mixer, providing a cable that can be replaced if something should happen to it whilst performing or listening to music on-the-go. The cable is attached to a bodypack mixer/amp, which has quite a few capabilities that will be talked about in detail, coming up.

You can tell the product as a whole is no-fuss, no-muss, meaning this is a product that is meant to last, from the external bodypack metal switches to the accurate embedded microphones, which should last you for many years to come.


Fit and comfort

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Since Sensaphonics is the company that creates the most comfortable silicone custom full shell sleeves in the world in my experience, I will say that the fit is about as perfect as it can be when using their custom sleeves. Using their universal tips leads to a thoroughly isolating, comfortable fit, and there are many third-party tips such as SpinFits that can help you dial in a very good seal and fit as well. The medium olive tips that come packaged with the 3D-2 fit me the best. The memory wire is soft and supple and gives just a bit of fit stability, if needed.

You may want to use a longer body pack jumper cable if you have the stock cable connected to a DAP or smartphone, as there were times where I wanted a slightly longer bodypack jumper cable for better connected device maneuverability.

The bodypack is lightweight and slips/clips on easily to your shorts or pants with no hindrance in movement. You can rock out or run without any issue.

What can this system do and how to operate it?

This is a system which allows you to listen to the outside environment while listening to your music, and allows you to record as if your ears are listening, since the microphones are on the earphones. Here’s a rundown on the system and what each port, switch and knob operates:

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Looking straight up/at the top, you’ll see two switches. The first one is a small power switch. You will not be able to operate the 3D-U2 if the power of the system is off. There will be a very low audible sound if the system is off, but is not a usable signal, in my opinion.

To your right of the on/off switch are the LED indicator lights. With a fresh battery, the indicator light is green. With continued use, the yellow light will show as well. With even more continued use (after approximately 6 hours), the light will only show as yellow. Once the light only shows yellow, it’s advised to replace the battery. There is also a Peak single red LED that emits when signal level nears the 3D system peak clipping output. If it lights repeatedly, then it’s either the monitor input/source or the ambient level is too loud. Turn down the volume of your monitor mix/device until the peak light goes out. If the light is still showing, open the 3D bodypack and turn the ambience level (red knob) until the Peak LED stops flashing. However, on loud stages, it’s common for the LED to be lit when in Full Ambient mode. “Loud” is labeled as Monitor and Ambient, which are yellow LEDs that indicate signal presence from these inputs. Depending upon sound levels, the yellow LED will flicker yellow and become brighter with louder sound levels.

To your right of the LED indicator lights is the mode “Perform/Full Ambient” switch. “Perform” mode is when you are either performing or listening to your music with the level of ambient setting of the “Ambient Background” knob (8-position rotary red control knob inside the bodypack mixer. The maximum ambience level is unity gain (position 7 [~2:30/14:30 on a clock]. The control knob reduces ambience in 4 dB steps, down to -24 dB (position 1 [7:00/19:00]). Position 0 turns the ambience completely off, just like a conventional in-ear connected to a mixer/device. Usually the ambient background should be set to a reduced level so you can listen to your mix or device music as easily as possible. I personally keep the position at 0, so I can focus only on the music that I listen to, and use the “Full Ambient” mode switch when I want to hear the outside world in all its entirety. “Full Ambient” mode is mainly used between songs or when off-stage. The embedded microphones pick up the ambient sound, and is presented at unity gain (full natural volume). The 3D system “dynamically” lowers the monitor/device sound level to 85 dB SPL, which allows normal conversation on-stage. However, I personally feel that I need to turn off my music to use the “Full Ambient” mode effectively.

One mode I wish the system provided was a full ambient button that turned off the volume from the mixer/connected device. There were instances when I wanted to hear the outside world, but not have to go to my iPhone/QP1R to pause the music to listen to the outside world easily.

To the left of the bodypack is a 3.5mm “Microphone Output” jack that provides access to the ambient sound “heard” by the system’s binaural earphone microphones, with full 3D directionality. The output is sent to a digital recorder, which makes it possible to capture the 3D sound and experience. This is said to be best for live concert recording, but I haven’t specifically tried it in a live concert. Recording my voice and surroundings was clear and crisp.

To the lower port of the left of the bodypack is a 3.5mm “Monitor Input” jack. This is where you’ll connect your bodypack jumper cable to your sound source such as your smartphone/DAP.

Below the “Monitor Input” jack is the strain relief, where you can loop the bodypack jumper cable through prior to plugging in the cable to your sound source, if you’d like.

Your 3D-2 will plug into the “3D earphone dual output jack”, which is located on the right side of the bodypack.

Use the latch above the Sensaphonics logo to open the battery compartment of the bodypack. Insert a new 9V battery. The battery can only fit one way: negative terminal up and positive terminal down, both are also shown directly above and below the battery as well.

Inside the bodypack are the internal switches. Here are the switches and explanations.

To the far left is the “Bass Boost Switch”, which adds +10dB of bass to the overall frequency response. This is good for those in dance clubs or for those, like myself, that love bass!

To the right of the “Bass Boost Swich” is the “Earphone Switch”. Select “Sing.” if you are using the single driver 3D-1, and “Dual” if you are using the dual driver 3D-2.

To the right of the “Earphone Switch” is the “Limiter Switch”. Sensaphonics recommends that the “Limit” switch should be the selected position to minimize the effect on musical transients and dynamics (possible high volume spikes) while the bodypack is still providing sufficient protection.

To the right of the “Limiter Switch” is the “Ambient Background” knob, It was described in the “Perform/Full Ambient” switch section. As mentioned, I keep it at position 0 so I can have the ambient completely off when listening to my music, and the “Full Ambient” switch enables me to hear the background at unity gain (full, natural sound).

Batteries, a solution of sorts

Since you’ll get approximately 6-8 hours of use with a 9V battery, I would advise going with a rechargeable 9V battery. I am using the EBL High Volume 9V Rechargeable Battery, 600mAh.

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I purchased 2 batteries with a 2 battery port charger from eBay. The size of the battery is slightly larger than a regular 9V battery, and it is a tight fit inside of the bodypack battery receptacle. Use care when taking out the battery from the receptacle when you need to recharge, but all-in-all is a great way to save a lot of money, and always have a spare to extend listening since you’ll use the second battery while the first battery is charging!

Eyeglass and sunglass wearers

The memory wire cable is thin enough to not give eyeglass wearers too much trouble, but if you inherently have issues with most any size gauge of memory wire, then you may experience some discomfort. I don’t have any issues with the memory wire and my Oakley sunglasses, even when paired with my LED bicycle helmet!

Working out

I rode around in my Swagtron Swagger scooter with the 3D-U2 on a hot day and it stayed in my ears without any issue. Going custom would make it even better, especially when performing or going out for long-distance runs.


Disclaimer and hearing factors

The Sensaphonics 3D-U AARO System - 3D-2 sound impressions are mainly for anyone seeking a point of reference regarding how they more or less pair with the iPhone 6, QP1R and Surface Book. Other sources may vary slightly or greatly, as the 3D-2 sounds different enough with these three sources to warrant mentioning. The 3D-2 will have a warmer, less resolute and pronounced effect in the overall frequency spectrum when pairing with the iPhone 6. The 3D-2 will have a detailed with more treble and bass perception with extended detail when paired with the QP1R. For reference, the 3D-2 is very easy to drive, as a smartphone such as the iPhone does not take full volume for the 3D-2 to emit levels that can damage hearing quickly. Only 9 out of 16 volume is when the 3D-2 starts to sound very loud to my ears.

We all hear differently, and our experiences about how our interpretation of what we hear vary greatly. Some factors that come to mind (and not limited), are:

Your inner ear and skull’s overall composition: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart...kull-affect-how-you-hear-music-654940/?no-ist.

Hearing loss as we age, also known as presbycusis: https://www.ohio.edu/news/months/nov1998/111.html,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbycusis.

Heredity, noise trauma, dietary habits, smoking, hypertension, atherosclerosis, are other factors that affect people’s overall hearing ability.


Analyze this and that

The test tracks that I use in my reviews are located in these albums (album alphabetical order)

1989 (Deluxe Edition) by Taylor Swift (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)

21 by Adele (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)

Bad (2001 Special Edition) by Michael Jackson (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)

Bangerz by Miley Cyrus (MP3 320kbps/44.1kHz/16bit)

Beyoncé by Beyoncé (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)

good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)

Heart Blanche by Ceelo Green (MP3 320kbps/44.1kHz/16bit)

Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park (FLAC 48.0kHz/24bit)

Make Yourself by Incubus (MP3 320kbps/44.1kHz/16bit)

No. 5 Collaborations Project (EP) by Ed Sheeran (MP3 320kbps/44.1kHz/16bit)

One by One by Foo Fighters (FLAC 88.2kHz/24bit)

Random Access Memories by Daft Punk (FLAC 88.2kHz/24bit)

Schubert – Berliner Philharmoniker by Nikolaus Harnoncourt (FLAC 48.0kHz/24bit)

Shades of Marmalade by Jackson Breit (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)

The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)

Thriller by Michael Jackson (DSD 2822.4kHz/1bit)

X (Wembley Edition) by Ed Sheeran (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)

Several standalone tracks (track alphabetical order)

Dock of the Bay by The Persuations – A Cappella Dreams (WAV 44.1kHz/16bit)

M.O.R. by Blur – Blur 21, Blur (2012 Remaster – Special Edition) (MP3 320kbps 44.1kHz/16bit)

Schubert String Quartet No. 14 in D minor D. 810, Death and the Maiden: III. Scherzo. Allegro molto by Oslo String Quartet – The Schubert Connection (DSD 2822.4kHz/1bit)

Serenade (Spanish Dance), Op. 54, No. 2 by Jano Starker and David Popper – Wilson Audio Ultimate Reference (APE 44.1kHz/16bit)

The Peppery Man by Natalie Merchant – Leave Your Sleep (WAV 44.1kHz/16bit)

These Bones by The Fairfield Four – I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray (WAV 44.1kHz/16bit)

If I am listening to a product that is not able to be listened with the highest resolution tracks that I have mentioned, I will listen to the TIDAL versions (FLAC).


Sound impressions

The sound of the 3D-2 is one of my favorite dual-driver in-ears that I’ve listened to. The sound as a whole is quite balanced, with a slight emphasis in the midrange and lower midrange. Once you flip the bass switch, you get a balanced sound, with a satisfying boost in the bass range. Does this turn the 3D-2 into a basshead earphone? Not quite. Since the switches are all analog, the transition to the bass boost sounds so natural, and so...right. I keep the bass switch on all of the time, because the bass is enthralling, but not overbearing to the point of being disruptive to my enjoyment of the entire sound. The midrange is the star of the show, and is creamy smooth, yet authoritative at the same time. The treble is not sibilant, and is non-fatiguing in the least. Some may say that with the bass boost the treble may be rolled off, but the treble shouldn’t hurt your ears, and give you just enough to relax and listen to for many listening hours at a time. Spatial capabilities such as an immense soundstage aren’t the ultimate strong suit, but the sheer depth, texture, and enjoyment of the entire sound as a whole is more than apparent to my ears. Once you figure out an optimal fit, you should be able to enjoy the totality of the sound in either the bass boost switched on or off.


Earphone comparisons

The selected comparisons to the 3D-U2, below, are with earphones that are around the price range of the 3D-U2. If you’d like a comparison of an earphone that is not mentioned in the review or is not located in my profile, feel free to message me and send me anything you’d like that can then be added to the review. Without further ado…


Sensaphonics 3D-U AARO System 3D-1
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I was able to demo the 3D-1 the same time as the 3D-2, and I listened them back to back at NAMM and also at home. I don’t want to sugar coat my feelings regarding the two. I feel the 3D-2 destroys the 3D-1 with regards to overall sound signature comparison. The 3D-2 sounds more dynamic, resolute, detailed, visceral, and competent, compared to the 3D-1. I enjoy the 3D-2 compared to the 3D-1 so much, that regardless of price, I would advise those that care about sound quality to forgo the 3D-1 and purchase the 3D-2. You should only purchase the 3D-1 if you want to be introduced to the 3D-U AARO technology, and may be sharing the 3D-1 for purposes such as house of worship, where multiple people may be using the 3D-1. For everyone else (including those that are looking into purchasing the 3D-1), should definitely and unequivocally go for the 3D-2. Usually I don’t speak in such absolute terms, but I feel strongly that whatever price discrepancy is highly worth it to get the 3D-2 over the 3D-1.


Shure SE846
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Fit of the 3D-2 is easier to fit than the SE846, but both qualify for the SCS, which will put both at a virtual tie if the SCS was used with both the 3D-2 and SE846. I was able to obtain a good fit with the stock olive tips and 3D-2, and was able to obtain an acceptable fit with tips such as the Westone silicone and SpinFit tips. I use the SCS with the SE846 for a custom-like fit.


The SE846 is more detailed and broader with regards to sound signature, with bass that is some of the best in the industry. However, the 3D-2 has the analog bass boost switch, which its bass sounds darn good for a dual driver, and there is arguably just as much warmth of bass compared to the SE846. The midrange of the 3D-2 is warmer and more linear in sound than that of the SE846, and sheer treble extension and sheen doesn’t favor either. You’d need to keep the bass switch off for the 3D-2, and use the white filters or opt for DIY Knowles Dampers in Brown with the SE846 for as high of treble presence as possible. The 3D-2 is more linear in sound in areas including imaging and soundstage, compared to the broader range of the SE846.

Ultimate Ears Pro Reference Remastered
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The UEPRR’s fit is custom, which is very comfortable. The SCS offers additional comfort due to the soft silicone, but can induce ear canal warmth due to the soft silicone.


The UEPRR and non-bass boost 3D-2 aren’t very different in sound. There is more bass presence, less midrange presence, and similar treble presence of the UEPRR compared to the 3D-2. The non-bass boost 3D-2 is a bit more forward and vibrant sounding than the UEPRR, and the 3D-2 with the bass boost has a bit more bass presence than the UEPRR. Soundstage and imaging favors the UEPRR, while smoothness and depth of sound favors the 3D-2.

Cultivate a fresh sound™

What does this mean? Too often we focus on only the music we are accustomed to. I am usually this way as well. Here’s an opportunity to listen to something you either may not normally listen to, or haven’t heard of. As I publish reviews in the future, I will have new and older tracks from various genres that I’ve listened to in this section, and will be largely based on what songs really moved me in particular to the reviewed product I’ve listened to on it. Even though the tracks will be linked to YouTube videos or audio-only versions, the tracks will either be listened solely from the iPhone 6 and TIDAL HiFi - Lossless, or from my Microsoft Surface Book and TIDAL HiFi - Lossless. Instead of describing each track in immense detail, you can simply listen for yourself and bask in the beautiful music you may have just found for the first time right now! What’s also great is that you can come back here just to listen to the tracks mentioned! If you have any personal issues with any tracks posted, please PM me and I'll replace it with another track. It's all about positivity in our musical journey. With those kind words of encouragement, here we go…

Man of the Woods by Justin Timberlake

Bringing The House Down by CLOVES

Azukita by Steve Aoki, Daddy Yankee, Play-N-Skillz, Elvis Crespo

Time In A Bottle by Lykke Li


Is the Sensaphonics 3D-U AARO System - 3D-2 right for you?

The 3D-2 is perfect for those that want to listen to the outside noise (ambient sound) and not have to take off your IEM to do so, and if you want to use the earphone microphones to record full 3D sound. The 3D-2 sounds really good as well when using it to listen to music from your favorite device/DAP. It’s definitely a different and fun take on audiophile sound, with serious quality that you can see and feel, first-hand.


Final thoughts

Compared to other dual drivers in the market, the 3D-2 sounds so smooth and rich. Full ambient makes it so you can listen to the outside when people may not even think you are listening to them!

The 3D-1 was great for a taste of the 3D AARO system. The 3D-2 is the best-tasting version of the two, making the number two, in this case, number one. Check out the 3D-2, and the custom version for one of the best fit and overall sound you can get from a custom dual driver in-ear!


Specifications

  • Sensaphonics 3D-U AARO System - 3D-2

  • 2 Proprietary, full-range BA drivers

  • Crossover-free

  • 6dB more headroom, zero crossover distortion

  • All-analog signal path = zero-latency device

  • Best in stage monitoring for live performance

  • Mics withstand up to 140 dB without distortion

  • 9V power supply = IEMs do not share power with source device

  • Cable: 52-inch, dual ⅛ in TRRS connectors

  • Frequency response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz

  • Maximum SPL, 500 Hz
    • Single-driver earpiece: 124 dB-SPL

    • Dual-driver earpiece: 130 dB-SPL
  • Ambient Microphone input overload, 500 Hz 140 dB-SPL

  • Full Ambient Mode insertion gain: 0 dB

  • Monitor input sensitivity (for 124 dB-SPL, 500 Hz)
    • 3D-AARO Mixer, unbalanced drive (pin 2 hot): 0 dBV
  • Monitor input impedance
    • 3D-AARO Mixer: 20 kOhm
  • Ambient Mode equivalent input noise: 27 dBA-SPL

  • Monitor Mode equivalent input noise
    • Single-driver earpiece (A-weighted): -104dBV

    • Dual-driver earpiece (A-weighted): -101dBV
  • Output noise
    • Single-driver earpiece: 20 dBA-SPL

    • Dual-driver earpiece: 23 dBA-SPL
  • Limiter
    • Type: Slow, average responding, frequency selective, linked left-right; dual independent for monitor and ambient signals

    • Limiter threshold (both operating modes): 105 dBA-SPL output levels

    • Limiter threshold (monitor signal, Full Ambient mode): 85 dBA-SPL output levels

Included

  • Ambient earphone cable, 52-inch, dual ⅛ in TRRS connectors

  • 3D-AARO jumper cable, black 12-inch ⅛ in TRS stereo connectors

  • 3D-U eartips: mushroom style in S, M, L

  • Comply Tsx-100 eartips in S, M, L

  • Pelican storage case

  • Cleaning tool

  • Shirt clip
  • Like
Reactions: TSAVAlan
schulein
schulein
Has any one tried making binaural recordings with this product? I have and posted some on Youtube: and Robert B. Schulein

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