Advanced Acousticwerkes US CIEM Demo Lineup Tour - W900, W500, plus two surprises >>> Starting March 2017

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  1. Vansen
    @linux4ever The second part of this tour was not arranged geographically. The next person on this list for me was in CA, which is almost 3,000 miles away. Unless you want part of the tour to take over a year to complete due to shipping times, it makes sense just to pick the next person close to you. Everyone gets their turn a lot quicker this way.
     
  2. SilverEars
    Yeah, what is going on? Why were 4 people on the list skipped and sent to somebody else out of sequence?
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
  3. dc655321
    Tour kit received from @GTecX. Thanks.
    Everything looks good. Will post more as I explore.
     
    kubedzero likes this.
  4. dc655321
    Tour kit on its way to @Ricky64. PM'd with tracking info.
     
  5. flashbak
    Nice how we now have to go backward in the list because one person couldn't follow the rules! :frowning2:
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
  6. Ricky64
    Kit received in good shape.
     
  7. dc655321
    I spent the most time, by far, listening to the W900. The other iems of the
    tour will have some coverage here, but not as much.

    First, some words about my gear. I "graduated" from a VSonic GR07BE
    to an FLC8S a couple of years ago and am very happy with their sound. I
    usually use the red/gray/gold filter combination, but occassionally use
    red/grey/grey, or red/black/grey (or gold). I recently purchased an SMSL iDEA
    DAC/AMP, thinking that the small output impedance would be an asset for both
    the FLC8S and other low-impedance iems I may test or purchase. My source
    material is FLAC or 320 kbit MP3 files and I listened to the AAW phones using
    songs from Massive Attack (Angel, Black Milk, etc), Tool (Eulogy, Ticks &
    Leeches), Puscifer (Momma Sed), Glass Animals and Alt-J, among others.

    Keep in mind that in the following impressions when I use comparisons, they are
    relative to what I hear from the FLC8S. That's my benchmark.

    A3H Pro V2
    ------------
    Bass extends as deep as FLC8S, but is perhaps softer and slower, with more
    mid-bass emphasis. This, coupled with a softer treble, makes vocals appear
    very slightly more recessed. It is not much of a recession, like switching from
    the gold filter to the grey (blue/black, whatever color that is!) with the
    FLC8S. The A3H is very smooth and warm sounding. I feel like I could listen to
    these all day without fatigue. I did not get the same sense of space,
    width-wise, and suspect this may be due to the rolled off treble. A very easy
    to listen to iem, for sure!

    M40
    ------------
    Lacking a dynamic driver and appearing portless to me, the first thing I
    noticed was the impressive isolation. It was cold out that day, and the roar
    of the furnace disappeared when I plugged the M40's in. Neat! If I had to
    describe the sound of these in one word it would be "polite". The detail
    retrieval is great, although again, I feel that the vocals appeared slightly
    recessed. The bass impact was definitely softer. Although the M40 dug almost as
    deep as the FLS8S, there was a less visceral feel to the bass. Perhaps that is
    a trait of balanced armature bass in general? Up top, the treble was very
    noticably smoother, with a softer extension. Again, very nice to listen to, but
    perhaps a little boring for my tastes.

    W500
    -----------
    Thick, syrupy bass. Mmmmmmmm. These are more powerful across the bass region,
    with a smooth treble. When these are called on to dig deep in a song, they
    really do deliver. Wow. Impactful, textured bass and sub-bass. I don't think
    the treble is more rolled off than the FLC8S, but it is markedly smoother.
    Maybe less peaky? I find that I can turn the volume up on these with little
    trace of harshness on sharp sounds (drumsticks clicking, fingers snapping,
    rimshots, etc). On the FLC8S, I would be cringing at high volumes. There is a
    similar reverby sense of spaciousness with notably better layering and
    separation. Like sounds that were slightly blurry appear more resolved. Of
    course, this is one of things that I didn't know I was suffering from until I
    had a better lens to listen through. Thank you for the opportunity to learn!

    W900
    -----------
    First, the minor, negative impressions. The ergonomics on the W900 (and W500)
    universal are not great. The nozzle could stand to be a couple of millimeters
    longer to help ensure a good seal. The size and shape of the body inhibit
    deeper insertion and clean seating, at least for my ears. Also, the cable feels
    like a toy for $1000-$2100 headphones. It's not terrible (ok, the ear-guides
    _are_ terrible), but it's not good either. I'm talking strictly about the
    mechanical/ergonomic aspects here.

    With that out of the way: yum, these are soooo nice to listen to! Resolving and
    extended, on both ends of the spectrum. The bass is less emphasised than the
    W500, but more impactful and textured than the FLC8S. It does not get in the
    way of the rest of music and only shines when the music asks it to. At that
    point, the rumble and texture are fan-freakin-tastic. The details presented are
    also prominently different in that the W900 is less mid-forward than the FLC8S
    (with gold filter), but the resolution of those details is every bit as sharp.
    And smoother. It feels like more of a broad band of smooth details than a high
    peak of details. Listen to the long intro of Tool's song, Eulogy. OMFG, that's
    good. Or Black Milk, by Massive Attack. OMFG, indeed...

    After reading all the hype about the sense of space that the W900's conveyed, I
    have to say I was a little underwhelmed on that aspect. Yes, the stage conveys
    more space than the W500, but it really is not incredibly better than what the
    FLC8S presents. At least not for the music I listen to. Although the _size_
    of the sense of space did not wow me, the sense of depth and sharpness of
    separation were very impressive. Imagine a series of postcards arrayed around
    you at the same flat plane. Each is marked with an instrument: guitar, bass
    guitar, drums, vocalist, etc. This flat space is how the FLC8S presents. Now
    introduce some air between those postcards so that they are still flat, in a
    plane, but now are somewhat further apart and distinct. Next, arrange the cards
    closer to you or further away from the plane so that there is a tangible
    element of depth in the constellation of postcards. That is what the W900 adds
    to the sense of space. It was so cool to get a sense that this instrument or
    sound is issued from more or less distance than this other sound. Sounds that
    are in the "background" of songs appear to take a more impactful role, panning
    in, moving across the stage, and fading out. If the W500 made
    slightly blurry sounds more focused, then the W900 embues an even sharper
    clarity to the sound. Truly impressive.

    I have to say though, that I was expecting to hear something closer to a
    neutral (boring) signature with the W900, with vastly extended treble. What I
    did hear was closer to the FR graph that was posted some pages back in this
    thread (by @crinacle): enhanced bass/sub-bass with rolled off (but great!)
    treble. This does pique my interest as to what a custom version of these may
    sound like. But, not to the tune of $2100. To get what I would consider to be a
    minor improvement to my FLC8S, for an additional $1750 above its cost, is just
    not justifiable to my pragmatic self. If it was in the $1000 range, I would be
    more tempted. The coherent, sonic image these iems portray is really
    eye-opening.

    Thanks to AAW and @Barra for organizing this tour and letting me participate.
     
    justrest, Barra and kubedzero like this.
  8. kubedzero
    Great read, thanks for sharing @dc655321 !
     
  9. Ricky64
    Kit sent to Flashbak.
     
  10. flashbak
    Package received, but won't be able to open it until later on today. Will report back.
     
  11. flashbak
    Just performed a quick inspection and everything seems to be in order.
     
    Barra likes this.
  12. flashbak
    Kit mailed out today to ngoshawk. Expected delivery is this Monday. Notified ngoshawk,
     
  13. ngoshawk
    Kit received from @flashbak. Will check condition later, soccer calls!
     
  14. ngoshawk
    Condition of all four is good and all are in working order. Initial impressions are quite positive for all four...and yes, I started at the low end first!
     
  15. ngoshawk
    AAW kit in the way to @linux4ever, FedEx, insured, sig req’d. Apologies, but I did not feel comfortable mailing off $6000+ worth of kit, uninsured. Delivery Fri/Mon (hopefully Friday!!!).

    I thoroughly enjoyed my way too short week, and could see myself replacing some of my current IEM’s with any of the “cheaper three.” As for the W900’s? I did indeed enjoy them, but for that same cost, I could get the UM Maestro V2 AND the Prelude Warbler...an option I am considering.

    This certainly does not take away from the W900, which did surprise me pleasantly at times. An outstanding unit well worthy of its 6th place in Nick’s Shootout.

    That said, I just accepted delivery of the UM Maestro V2 for a weeks audition.

    Cheers all, and more thoughts when I have time.

    Thanks @Barra ! And thank you to AAW for their gracious support of us. It is indeed honorable and appreciated.
     
    Barra likes this.
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