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W500 Ahmorph is in another league..you mean the XBA-Z5? it's midfi basshead iem.
Right, XBA-Z5 (corrected in original post), thanks, I got them mixed up by parallel reading the MDR-Z1R thread.
Still collecting info ...
I think a question worth asking yourself is "if i buy the z5, will I end up buying the w500 eventually anyway?"
If the answer is yes, it may be worth buying the TOTLs now, and save some time and money in the process.
Thanks, @bananafische! You're absolutely right, and this would be exactly my thinking (and has been in the past -- I'm not one to pick up lots of gear and usually try to shoot for the best), however, this is sort of a special use case, in that I have a great headphone for home use and am just looking for something to use when on the go/travelling. Could be the best of the best is just pearls before swine in this case. But I guess I'll have to find out for myself. Like the Sony MDR-EX1000, the XBA-Z5 is very highly regarded for its price class, and I don't think it was Sony's flagship for nothing. I have done quite a bit of reading on it in the meantime, and it's actually often compared very favorably against much higher priced TOTL (C)IEMS, so I'm certainly curious to see what the deal is. Definitely looking for a darker sound sig with elevated midbass, rumbling subbass, full-bodied mids and smooooth (insert as much o's as you got) highs, so I might prefer it to many competitors costing three or four times as much. At this point, I've pretty much narrowed it down to:
AAW W500/W500 AHMorph
Lime Ears Aether (not sure if bassy enough)
Custom Arts Harmony 8 or 8.2
Earsonics Velvet (not sure about build quality)
I'll probably be able to listen to all of these except the Rhapsodio and then make an informed (and hopefully wise) decision. If someone would like to discourage me from one of these based on my preference or add a new contender to the list, please don't hesitate.
The sound you describe I wouldn't go for the Aether or AAW500. The Solar could work. But I would also consider the 846 too.
Oh man, you're crushing me! Why not W500? Too much treble energy?
Tried the 846, wasn't for me. It's been a while, but I felt something about its sound sig was off, think I found it a little ... metallic sounding? In any case, I remember I was neither really fond of the treble nor the bass.
Edit: Any more recommendations?
Well you AAW is not so smooth in the treble. Give the 846 a second try with other sources. Also, try the Zeus XIV and the Plus5. Both correspond very well to what you describe IMO.
Cheers, mate! Although I think I read a Rhapsodio vs. Zeus comparo that made the Zeus out to be relatively treble forward. Oh well. I certainly got my work cut out for me. To quote the Beatles: It's a long and winding road ...
I really wonder why our impressions of the W500 are so different. My customized pair suffered from a distinct lack of sparkle, resolution and clarity. Assuming you tried the universal version, I suspect the ear tips introduced a treble peak (or two) which contributed to an increase in perceived clarity. This is not uncommon in my experience.
I only had 15mn with the demo. They were not the sparkliest on the planet, but clearly not part of the "smooth treble" gang.
There are two version of the Zeus. The original, called the XIV, which I prefer, which is mid forward and mid thick, clearly not treble forward. This is the one I recommend. The Zeus-R is more balanced, but by no means treble forward. The Solar is V-shaped, the mids pushed a bit back, so maybe a less nice sound for you.
You can check out the A12 too. Warm and thick sig with smooth highs.
Or try Beyonce Knowles. I hear she has warm, thick and smooth thighs.
Hey All, just received word my impressions reached Singapore! I'm listening to my K10s right now hoping the W500 AHMorph will kick them to the curb. The wait begins . . .
Hmm, I like them full-bodied, big-bottomed, with a sweet, lush midrange ... Oh, I'm still talking about headphones, btw. (More of a Rihanna guy myself.) Anyway, thanks for the good advice, but I ended up buying the Oriolus. Very happy right now, it's exactly what I was looking for (see above)!
Also, I heard that there is going to be a new flagship from AAW soon (and that they may cease production of the W500). Apparently they haven't been happy with the AHMorph module, but from what I hear the're going to retire the "normal" version as well in favor of the new, 8 driver one (W800?). Well, I guess we'll see ...
What exactly are the complaints regarding the module? I just ordered this thing and haven't heard about any issues. It's tough to find a lot of information on the internet though.