Sony MDR EX1000

  1. maxmays1
    Extreme Detail (BEST IEM's For Studio Recording)
    Written by maxmays1
    Published Aug 25, 2012
    Pros - Extremely detailed, High pass emphasized, Flat but detailed Mids , controlled low end, comfortable(IMO), sleek design,dynamic drivers
    Cons - power hungry, Lack of impact and power from bass, not as airy as one would expect(in comparison to over the ear cans), despises low quality recordings
    I find this to be an extremely detailed pair of IEM, these being my first and only pro IEMs i find myself comparing these to my Beyerdynamics, Although it's hard to find similarities between the variants but i seem to notice the level of detail these offer are far more impressive, which is not always a good thing. In some cases almost to much detail because these let you notice the slightest mistakes in audio recordings, they scrutinize everything like a oscilloscope. To me this is only a problem because its ported directly into your ear without letting any sounds resonate away from the ear or diffuse like it would with over the ear Cans which makes them sound more atmospheric and hot,while these are neutral, only playing what the composer truly made, not what they attempted to make or tried to emphasize.
    Treble - These seem to pronounce treble most, it can be extremely sharp sometime, but i find this mostly happens on poor quality songs, even medium quality songs have a hard time being smooth, the sound from anywhere from as low as 1khz and higher seems to produce more impact on the ear than the low end, even at low volumes it penetrates your ear drum. It always seems to peak in the sweet spot without going passed that and making you cringe, and if it does its probably because your volume is to high.But because of the following topics, there are reasons why your volume might be to high.
    Mids- The mids are what i consider a proper flat resonance, this to me is a good thing. It is always at the forefront of the song. This feature gives you a good understanding of how sounds are recorded live or digitally because all sounds resonate from this neutral area(around 1khs-10khz).i feel that this function leads me to believe these to be perfect for examining all types of recordings. Say for example you are trying to get a feel of how a microphones sounds in any situation you usually try to pay attention of how well it resonates from the mids of a frequency pattern, on vocals you register how a persons voices sounds from the middle of the approach and where the sounds starts to peak, and with the characteristics of these you can get a good understanding of where the power really comes in because the sounds never falls off it just resonates on until the very last resonance point.
    Bass- The bass can clearly be heard,but the power is not there to fill what is being emphasized,now i'm speaking from my situation and i say this lack of power comes from the heavy dampening within, and the lack of power i'm driving to it. I have only really used these on my Nuforce HDP or lower powered devices so i can say i'm not powering these to there potential, but either way i don't think these are the best choice for bass heavy songs, or songs that put emphasizes on low artificial bass. The best bass comes from live recorded bass and kick drum variants, digital bass like 808 line or heavy dub just doesn't have that much feel, instead it just teases you with the idea of what the bass should FEEL like, i should mention heavy bass should be felt not necessarily "heard". As i said before these are very detailed and the bass can absolutely be heard, the bass is always clean and that may be the problem, most of the time the heavy bass lines lead to distortion on drivers trying to heavily emphasize the bass,and sometimes the distortion isn't to noticeable but leads you to believe that the bass line really is that hard. Even when these are driven hard the bass never distorts or starts clipping, it just sounds really loud, extremely controlled and detailed, but never heavy and as impactful' as it teases to be.
    Isolation/Dampening/Distortion>>concentration - 
    Most IEMs are known for isolation , well these don't fit in that category. These work like most open back/vented headphones, they require a quiet setting for you to truly capture the details and feel comfortable while listening to it at correct volume level. I find myself turning up the volume way higher than it needs to be just to concentrate on the sounds i'm looking for. As i listen to very technical sounds and music i really have a hard time focusing on the recording as i get slightly distracted by sounds and vibrations around me fairly easy. But when I'm in a nice and quiet area, these things start to take you to the level it was meant to take you to. Only external source of noise i want to here(i should say feel) is the added rumble from my external subwoofers adding to the overall sound stage. 
    As stated these come with 10 different sets of ear tips, 3 of which are labeled "noise isolation". I think this is a little misleading as some people might think this is meant to really stop noise from getting in,wrong. What i have come to realize is that these actually work as absorbing vibrations and movement of the actually drivers themselves. They keep them from shaking or moving around in your ears to much when you make fast movement or your cords shakes to much.Also another thing that might lead to the dampening of bass is the thick padding within the port(it is clearly visible). This probably serves as a dust filter as well as dampening of any harsh distortion. I BELIEVE if you were to pull out this padding you might get a greater bass punch, BUT I DO NOT RECOMMEND this as it serves as a dust and dirt filter, and you wont be able to put in back in easily if you find you don't like them out.One thing i should complain about is that the wrap that goes over the ear could have been a little more thicker, the wire dangles freely a little to much. But back to the Ear buds themselves.
    I've noticed after testing almost all of them, that they all have the potential of staying in your ear, but the ones smaller than your ear canals tend to present the smoothest sounds, very relaxed and not much impact and somewhat muddy,this doesn't always make the recording sound good, but are less fatiguing over longer stents and high volumes. The ones that fit tighter in your ears, be it the right size or to big tend to have the most detail, tighter response and have more impact in both the lows and highs.The bigger and tighter ones tend to cause some pressure in and around the ears and can be more fatiguing for longer stents.  I Recommend trying each one for about 10 minutes and see which one feels the best for longest amount of time. To me the isolation variants tend to give me the longest endurance. I have also experimented using different sized on each ear(a green on the left/ a orange on the right,etc) since each ear canal aren't exactly the same size this is a good experiment to perform.
    So i came up with a solution that seems to work best for these drivers. like most of my setups,i split the high pass and low pass. headphones being on high pass and the low pass sent to a subwoofer or second driver set up.
    With this set up the sound stage is amazing, it more than rivals full sized cans, It surpasses those that are meant to be technical(studio headphones), these are the most technical headphones I've heard to date. These drivers have so much clarity and control of the high end, and with the addition to the external bass to fill in the rest of the song its a great combination. This set up can surely be a end game solution for those wanting the ultimate experience. They are ideal for studio recording and movie editing,watching. With video games i have trouble using these for racing game simply because they scrutinize the digital sound. With shooting,action games i.e GTA, BTF3 these are killer. I may be imagining it but i seem way more focused while in multi-player or on missions, the sounds are alot more subjective(someone creeping on you or close call gunshots),the last BTF3 server i was in i was 50-18 K/D before i retired from such massacre. -_- yes that not my normal K/D with my Beyerdynamics.
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    2. H20Fidelity
      EX600 share similarity's to EX1000 so I agree about the full size headphones resemblance. ljokerl describes them well in his EX600 review. they tend to have a slight treble roll off though balanced well from low to mid. I only use IEM's mostly while laying down at night and apart from using my Fiio E10 DAC/Amp they would paired with Cowon players so It does have me concerned about their power requirements, as I would want them at their full potential even at lower volumes. I can pair my E11 amp up with one of my Cowons and use a rig I guess. I'm possibly trailing a pair on loan soon, so that will help.

      H20Fidelity, Aug 25, 2012
    3. drez
      personally one of the things that struck me about the EX1000 was the bass presence and quality, I was just using my 5th gen ipod as a source and amplifier. I should probably qualify that my reference headphone these days is an HE-6 so maybe I am used to a treble tilt and laid back bass but personally I was quite impressed with the bass from the EX1000. I also was not listening for bass impact as such due to my musical preferences. Still I do not consider these to lack bass specifically as there are pleeenty of other headphones with less bass "XD.
      drez, Aug 26, 2012
    4. maxmays1
      Drez, i agree the bass is very good, if i made it seem as if the bass was bad then i should change it. I was pointing out some of the issues I've heard other people complain about with the "lack of bass". I am quiet happy with the bass,even more so now that i have tried it out on the Schiit Asgard. Just in comparison to other high priced headphones these do not over exaggerate the bass or have a very deep vibration. It definitely has presence but its not as boomy(a good thing) as many other headphones that have that type of bass expansion. The enclosure of the drivers simply don't allow for that type resonance, it was made to be precise in its movement, not out of control. These are truly professional grade, with professional sound.
      maxmays1, Aug 27, 2012
  2. tamleo
    Unique and beautiful iem
    Written by tamleo
    Published Jun 20, 2012
    Pros - Very forward and liquid mids, wonderful quality and quantity of treble(special, one of the best detailed and airy iem(special), solid bass, good build
    Cons - slightly lack of low mids and mid-bass, bass could be more detailed&faster, uncomfortable to wear,cacophonous for some,too emphasis on high-mids
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    2. tamleo
      Sorry about my bad English:frowning2:
      tamleo, Jun 20, 2012
    3. Night Crawler
      Comparing the EX1000 against the A1000 is comparing apples to oranges. Not a fair comparison, as far as I'm concerned, though some may disagree. Where strictly IEM's are concerned, the EX1000 has one of the most proficient lower ends. In fact, much of it owes to the lack of a midbass hump, as a midbass hump, more often than not, compromises the lower mids. I'm sure glad the EX1000 is free from said hump, by even the slightest. If it's a faster, more detailed low end you're after, however, you may be more inclined towards BA's. The PFE232 is a great example.
      P.S. Your English is fine. :)
      Night Crawler, Jun 20, 2012
    4. tamleo
      @ Night Crawler: Thank you for your comment and the last language praise=)
      Seems it is quite silly when compare the Denons bass to the studio/audiophile headphones bass but it is just my expansion addition. i just want to say: the bass on the Ex1ks is good, but not their outstanding power such as their mids and treble. especially while it is compared to the W4s(full(mid+low synthetic), speedy bass) and Gr07s(deep and solid bass):D
      p/s:pfe 232s are so expensive, but i think they will be similar to triple or quad amature driver iems, right?
      tamleo, Jun 22, 2012
  3. i2ehan
    Written by i2ehan
    Published Jun 9, 2011
    1. kiteki
      Wow, thankyou for this review and your comparisons to the CK10.
      Now, if only someone could compare EX700 and EX1k, then I could know if it's for me or not.
      kiteki, Jun 9, 2011
    2. Freefallr4545
      Nice Review I2 Your details and communication of sound are wonderful. These would be my #1 If it were not for the isolation thing
      Freefallr4545, Jun 14, 2011
  4. k3oxkjo
    REVIEW: Amused to death with the Sony MDR EX-1000 IEM
    Written by k3oxkjo
    Published Mar 25, 2011
    Pros - Sound Quality, construction
    Cons - May be too vivid for some
    When it comes to portable audio, it just doesn't get much more portable than an IEM and a Ipod/Zune/Sansa etc. Even tethered to one of the small battery-powered headphone amps, we are talking about something that fits in a coat pocket. And if, like me, you commute 2 - 3 hours a day, anything that amuses during this "dead time" is a good thing.
    Recent years have seen an explosion of new IEM's upping the ante in sound quality (and price). So I bought a representitive sampling of units to see just what level of quality is attainable. The first round was between Westone 3, ER-4P and a Shure unit (whose number I forget). The Shure won this battle, but I wasn't really thrilled with any of them. Then the Shure broke...
    So round two pitted the IE-8, CK-10 and eQ-7. I just couldn't get past the IE-8 quite ample mid bass and found the CK-10 good sounding but fiddly to use, so the eQ-7 became the phone of choice. It was good, but uninspiring. Still, a solid all-around performer. Then in a moment of insanity, I bought a pair of Final Audio 1601 SS. The FAD's threw everything into confusion. They were decidedly not uncolored with a subdued but expressive bass and a tres bumpy treble. But they showed the others the door dynamically, in terms of sound field and detail and in that hard to define sense of overall musical presentation. With all their flaws, they expressed the music in a way that made the rest sound so-so.
    My thumbnail, unscientific, analysis was that there are certain things that tend to elude non-dynamic driver IEM's (except possibly the expensive and exotic units that employ large numbers of BA elements, which I have not heard). Being an audiophile, the FAD's areas of weaknesses still bugged me. The announcement of new FAD models was tempered by their employing BA drivers, but I had to give it a go. A pair of FI-BA-SB were ordered and actually did a decent job of bridging the gap with better dynamics and solidity than the other BA units, but a less idiosyncratic balance than the 1601's. Certainly a successful design, all things continued.
    But hearing about the Sony EX-1000 with their large dynamic driver proved to be a temptation too strong to resist. Am I glad I didn't! The EX-1000 are not cheap, but they are still about 1/2 the price of the popular multiple BA customs, so not out of the question. They come nicely packed with a comprehensive assortment of tips, a shorter replacement cable and a nice leather carrying case. The magnesium driver housing is light but appears sturdy. There is a general sense of high quality and technology here with their 16mm drivers employing Neodymium magnets and Liquid Crystal Polymer Film diaphragms and their oxygen-free copper cables. I found them to be comfortable with the supplied ear-buds and easy to route for over ear cable routing. None of which assures the EX-1000 sonic worth, of course.
    The first listening impression is of a vivid, clean sound. The bass, while not as strong as devoted "bass heads" may prefer, is noteworthy for it's sophistication and subjective lack of distortion. Treble is extended and generally smooth with an electrostatic-like clarity. Certainly it's not forgiving of bad recordings, but on the other hand, it doesn't invite bad recordings to sound worse than they are through uncontrolled treble resonances. The midrange is really excellent. Clean, yet lively and faithful to the unique texture and color of the individual instruments. The low level of self-noise and intermodulation products allows full detail to be available without being forcefully thrust at the listener. You can really hear this as Howard Hanson takes you through the instrumentation of his composition "Merry Mount" (The Composer and His Orchestra, Mercury). The extremes of dynamics here are also tracked quite well without much in the way of compression or information loss as things get busy. All this allows the impact and excitement of this music to come through to the listener.
    Beethoven's Egmont Overture with Rene Leibowitz and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on an excellent Chesky release (originally a Kenneth Wilkenson recording) comes through both in it's quiet moments and it's riotous ending with it's natural timbres (mostly) intact. The sound-field is excellent for an IEM, second only to the aforementioned FAD 1610's. The news is also good with popular music. Lennon's "Strawberry Fields Forever" tricks and multitracks are there to be heard without fracturing the musical whole. Procol Harum's atmospheric "A Salty Dog" is very well served here as well. The percussive new age-y sound of Conrad Praetzel's "EnTrance" is evocative and enticing. For something a bit more hard edged, the vocal and guitar pyrotechnics of Iggy and the Stooges' "Funhouse" inspire excited air play-along (guitar, drum or vocal as you prefer), just as you would hope. Uh-huh!
    Obviously, I like the EX-1000 (you think?). They are the best overall IEM's I have owned or heard (remember, I have no experience with the custom multi-BA units. Someday...) and aren't disgraced by the Sennheiser HD-800 or Sony CD-3000 (though they can't do some of the sound-field tricks of the large headphones). Few IEM's survive the comparison to good full-sized 'phones as well.
    I used my Sansa Fuze, my Zune/iBasso combo and my home system with Dark Voice tube amp all to good effect. The better the signal fed, the better the results, but the EX-1000/Sansa Fuse system was very worthy for it's small size and the Sansa's cost effectiveness.
    Now, if you are a confirmed bass-head or find any sense of sibilance anathema, these may not be the phones for you. But for me, while they are certainly not perfect (the treble could be smoother yet and the sound-field even more expansive, etc.) they are as good as I know in the here (hear?) and now in the non-custom multi-BA class. And I still think there is something to be said for large dynamic IEM drivers...
    1. svyr
      svyr, Mar 26, 2011