Are my ears deceiving me?
Oct 22, 2009 at 3:11 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3

tstarn06

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I posted on this elsewhere (im616 sale thread), and it's no big deal, but it is interesting. I recently got a pair of UM56 custom sleeves for my UM3X, and it's a great combo. But as it turns out, the UM3X also work very, very well with two other much less expensive IEMs, the Klipsch Image S4s and the Altec-Lansing im616s.

The S4s are $79 phones that I believe outperform any other comparably-priced IEM I have owned, in fact they might be on the next level performance wise, if not price-wise. I favor them over the X10s I owned, for example.

The 616s, well I owned a pair once upon a time, paid like $60 for them, and they were very nice. They have Ety drivers, some say the same one that is in the er6i. Not sure. I sold them to a friend when I bought the 716s, had the latter depodded, but sold them too because I felt they needed an amp, mod and all.

Anyway, because of a recent wild closeout sale, I got a pair of the 616s for $14 ($17 after shipping), and when the arrived, I was instantly impressed by the Ety detail and clarity (I used to own the ER4Ps as well, but it has been a long time). Only thing, a little bass lite. No surprise.

Well, then I did two things. I stuck the UM56s on the 616s, and I connected them to the Sony A818, bumping the Clear Bass to +3 and adding a little mid bass EQ as well.

Amazing. I can't believe the synergy between the two pieces of gear. At the risk of sounding truly insane, I have not been able to stop listening to this combination. I am sure the UM3X and S4s will still get plenty of rotation. But that $14 purchase has me shaking my head, wondering if my ears are just not sophisticated enough to appreciate the more expensive gear.

I found an old (2005) PC Mag review of the 616s, which retailed for $149 according to the reviewer, and they felt the 616s held their own with the ER4Ps, a pretty big statement. The reviewer, who seemed pretty sharp, raved about the 616s.

Again, an amazing stroke of luck. I have a request in for a second pair of 616s, but apparently the liquidator who has them only has a few left, and is selling to the original "wave" of buyers first. Hope I can get a second pair.
 
Oct 22, 2009 at 3:40 PM Post #2 of 3

A_Dying_Wren

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Wow.. that is impressive. Who'd have thought a great set up could have the earphones a fraction of the price of the DAP and tip.

Congrats on finding such a great synergy. How does it compare the UM3X + UM56?
 
Oct 22, 2009 at 4:37 PM Post #3 of 3

tstarn06

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Well, the UM3X bass is a complete trump over the 616s, so the Westones sound great with ALL my DAPs, not just one (the Sony). The 616/UM56 combo also sounds pretty good with the Clip+ but the Clip+ EQ is not on par with the Sony. Can't really use the 616s with the Zune or Amp3, because the bass boost is the missing link.

It's really just this one phone and the Sony sound, due to the EQ options. An amp might do just as well, one with bass boost, but I don't feel like lugging around an amp any more.

As far as SQ, the sound from the 616/818 combo is as good as anything, almost. The Amp3 with my Grados or even the Ksc35s is higher level SQ. But it does make me wonder whether I really need a top tier pair of phones, to be honest. I'll keep all three, as the S4s are my go-to IEM for the Amp3, and I need at least one pair for that great player.
 

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