Brand New : Tralucent Audio Ref.1 Too & original Ref.1
Aug 24, 2014 at 10:39 PM Post #1,576 of 4,426

moedawg140

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@ChrisSC, what material/options/accessories within the #7 style did you choose?  Like others have mentioned previous to this post, it would be nice to read your impressions/comparisons with the sizes-fit-all tips to your Westone custom mold #7, with accompanying pictures as well if you can.  Thanks in advance.
 
Westone Recreational Earpieces: http://www.westone.com/hhc/index.php/earpieces-and-the-ear/recreational-earpieces
Below is copied from the Westone Catalog: http://www.hearing1004.net/data/MEMBERBOARD/MB090811018525/Earmold%20Catalog_0991219355.pdf (page 23): 
 
Applications
(Thick shell) Adapts cellphone headsets 
and button style stereo headphones to 
custom earmolds

Available materials
Acrylic, Acrylic with Flex Canal, Acrylic 
DisappEar, Formula II, Formula II Clear, 
Rx, Superflex, Neon Colors, Vinyl Marble, 
OtoBlast, OtoBlast DisappEar, Cat Eyes

Modifications
N/A

Options/accessories
Colors, glitter, also available in iPod® 
white, initials
Note: Comes standard with MVP
 
Here are the earpiece materials and colors for anyone who is looking for it: http://www.westone.com/hhc/index.php/earpieces-and-the-ear/earpiece-materials-colors
 
Aug 24, 2014 at 11:06 PM Post #1,577 of 4,426

ChrisSC

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@moedawg:
 
I'm ordering the otoblast (emailing Greg at Westone, this is the only option available) with black standard color.
 
Honestly, I'm not sure if it's going to work out, as the ref 1. canals are angled at one's ears at nearly 45 degrees, making it awkward to fit a mold around while preserving the intended sound effect.  The ref 1s also have the rails built up pretty thick so they might protrude even more from the ear with the silicon over shelled.  Greg assured me its reversible, so if it doesn't work, at least the iems are intact.
 
I'm happy to step up and will report back to either warn/encourage others once I get them back. 
beerchug.gif

 
Aug 24, 2014 at 11:21 PM Post #1,578 of 4,426

moedawg140

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  @moedawg:
 
I'm ordering the otoblast (emailing Greg at Westone, this is the only option available) with black standard color.
 
Honestly, I'm not sure if it's going to work out, as the ref 1. canals are angled at one's ears at nearly 45 degrees, making it awkward to fit a mold around while preserving the intended sound effect.  The ref 1s also have the rails built up pretty thick so they might protrude even more from the ear with the silicon over shelled.  Greg assured me its reversible, so if it doesn't work, at least the iems are intact.
 
I'm happy to step up and will report back to either warn/encourage others once I get them back. 
beerchug.gif

 
Alright, sounds good, ChrisSC.  With the OtoBlast (if it works out for you) should bode well for comfort, even more-so than acrylic, but I'm not sure if it is more comfortable than the Vinyl, or Polyethylene materials they offer.  However the RX - Superflex is the softest material they offer ("is ideal for difficult fits when a silicone material might not be an option").
 
At least your IEMs will be intact either way, so that's definitely a positive.  Good luck! 
beerchug.gif
 (root beer in my glass)
 
Aug 26, 2014 at 11:17 AM Post #1,580 of 4,426

flymetothemoon

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Finally got my Ref1 back from repair...they sound really awesome balanced out of RWAK240. The bass is sometimes a bit strong but still great overall.

How many hours you have on your Ref.1?
 
Aug 26, 2014 at 11:21 AM Post #1,582 of 4,426

flymetothemoon

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Well...still long way to go to get the performance out from R.1.  I had the same impressions too when first picked it up and now I'm happy of its balance. Don't find bass excessive only the right balance.  
 
Aug 26, 2014 at 11:53 AM Post #1,583 of 4,426
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  I think its funny how it seems like opinions are separating into 2 camps with very little in-between:
 
1)  "This is overpriced and beat by an iem (the ASG2.5) < 1/2 the price(" (Eke and others)
2)  "This is the earphone version of a headphone (the Abyss) that costs about $5,500" (Kiats and others)
 
As an owner, I see both sides.  Yes, the asking price is very expensive and well past the point of diminishing returns, but yes this is (to me) completely top of the line and its price is warranted.
 
After spending a lot of time really concentrating on the sound and how it changes depending on DAP/type of tip/amp/cable/mp3 format/ I really think that its one of the more confusing IEMs to wrap one's head around.  I really like this IEM, but it's not for everyone.  It presents the details yet buries them in its musicality, and I personally like that.  The whole, "hearing things that I've never heard" doesn't apply here like it does with the 1+2 and others.  But I'm ok with that.  I'm not an audiophile in the true sense of the term, and would rather get lost in the music than search for and analyze the details. 
 
Ironically given its price tag, (I don't know of a more expensive universal IEM), I don't find it in the same league of reference level monitors in terms of detail retrieval.  But this is my endgame IEM and I take comfort in knowing that I won't be buying a new IEM for a long time (hopefully
biggrin.gif
).  Quite simply, I can't imagine enjoying music more than I would with these.
 

 
 
 
To be fair, I never gave any thoughts on the value of the Ref. After I heard my first cables and TOTL DAPs and the incredibly small differences they bring for such prices -even in the audiophile world-, far be it from me to try and decide what value anything holds for anyone.
 
 
My approach when evaluating the Ref, and any IEM really, is to see how close it sounds to real life. I've been involved with music and its production since I could take my very first steps. I'm a huge stickler for vocal and instrumental timbre. I don't really care if an IEM is V-shaped or mid-centric, just get the essence of the recording across. The 1plus2 was pretty much the opposite of my preferred signature, but I could still appreciate its brilliance.
 
The Ref fails in this regard, IMO, for the reasons I highlighted. The bass aside, the spike in the upper midrange is murderous for certain vocals and instruments. *For instance, I was listening to two of my favorite operas, Carmina Burana and Carmen. Not only did the tympani in O Fortuna sound obscured and bloated because of the bass quantity and subsequent lack of texture, but vocals were off in pitch. In Ego Sum Abbas (from the Eugen Jochum 1968 edition), the normally powerful male vocals were simply off. 
 
The other reason I don't really appreciate the Ref as much as you do is because of the awkward soundstage. Yes, it's wide and capable of throwing cues far to the left and right, but so can my earpods. Against other TOTL IEMs I've heard, I just feel like the Ref doesn't present the entire soundscape as well as its counterparts. Music isn't left and right. Our anatomy allows us to pick up sounds from every direction, but I only get the center blob, left blob, and right blob from the Ref.  The likes of the K3003 can toss sound far in front of you like few else I've heard. The ASG-2 literally puts you on stage with the performers, sometimes making you feel like you were the one singing. The UERM can image bass almost anywhere in the soundstage. The Final Audio Piano Forte series sounds like a concert hall in your head. Then there's the 1plus2 with its massive stage and awesome imaging. 

Maybe I had too high hopes. Kind of like when a hot new artists steps on the scene with an incredible album. You expect the second album to be just as good or even better, but that is not always the case.
 
Aug 26, 2014 at 12:06 PM Post #1,584 of 4,426

Kiats

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How long has your Ref 1 been burnt in? Quite curious because I don't quite hear the faults you are picking up. :)

Ah.... Standing on stage... You prefer the more immediate sig then? In your head sound. I see...
 
Aug 26, 2014 at 12:08 PM Post #1,585 of 4,426

Kiats

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Well...still long way to go to get the performance out from R.1.  I had the same impressions too when first picked it up and now I'm happy of its balance. Don't find bass excessive only the right balance.  


+1. Absolutely!
 
Aug 26, 2014 at 1:12 PM Post #1,588 of 4,426

tgdinamo

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How long has your Ref 1 been burnt in? Quite curious because I don't quite hear the faults you are picking up.
smily_headphones1.gif


Ah.... Standing on stage... You prefer the more immediate sig then? In your head sound. I see...

 
I agree. I have both 1plus2 and Ref 1 and find Ref 1 fixed the one issue 1plus2 exhibited (occasional harshness & sibilance). Also, I find some improvement in bass and mids on Ref 1.
But other than that I find them very similar and don't understand the criticism of Ref 1 soundstage and imaging at all - to me if you like 1plus2 you are not giving anything up in those areas when you move to Ref 1 
confused_face_2.gif
 
Let me also add that burning them in (both Ref 1 and 1plus2) makes huge difference in SQ. I was initially somewhat disappointed in Ref 1 (when comparing to already burned in 1plus2), but after putting 200+ hours on Ref 1 they feel like different phones (same experience I had gone through with 1plus2).
 
Aug 26, 2014 at 2:59 PM Post #1,589 of 4,426
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I agree. I have both 1plus2 and Ref 1 and find Ref 1 fixed the one issue 1plus2 exhibited (occasional harshness & sibilance). Also, I find some improvement in bass and mids on Ref 1.
But other than that I find them very similar and don't understand the criticism of Ref 1 soundstage and imaging at all - to me if you like 1plus2 you are not giving anything up in those areas when you move to Ref 1 
confused_face_2.gif
 
Let me also add that burning them in (both Ref 1 and 1plus2) makes huge difference in SQ. I was initially somewhat disappointed in Ref 1 (when comparing to already burned in 1plus2), but after putting 200+ hours on Ref 1 they feel like different phones (same experience I had gone through with 1plus2).

 
 
 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
Ok. 
 
Aug 26, 2014 at 4:17 PM Post #1,590 of 4,426
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^In the event my previous post came off as obnoxious, I feel the need to expand. This will likely be my last post on the subject, unless I'm responding to something else.
 
 
I really don't believe in burn in. I've had enough neurology courses to understand the power of the brain, so I feel that "burn in" is more or less a symptom of the brain adjusting and compensating for certain areas of sound. For instance, I remember how bass-light and sibilant my GR07 sounded when I upgraded from the SE-215. It was jarring, and made me question what I had just spent my $150 ( a large sum for me at the time) on. People on the threads convinced me that I just needed time to let the drivers settle. 200 hours of burn in and listening later, I could hear the goodness everyone was talking about. Burn in was real! Then I went back to the SE215 for a week while my GR07 was sent for repairs in China. You can guess how my GR07 sounded when it came back...like crap once more. As for the Ref 1 and burn in, I'm pretty sure SoundFreaq commented that the Ref's drivers underwent extremely strenuous testing, and they came out without any problems. So why then, would normal music levels affect what they sound like so dramatically?
 
I don't doubt that the Ref 1 sounded better to you after a while. Hell, it started to for me until I really started A/B'ing with my other gear. That's when flaws begin to show.
 
For the record, I thought Gavin's updated 1plus2 fixed the harshness issue. The treble was smooth yet brilliant, and the lifted sub-bass made it perfect down there. The only issue was that the lower mids didn't have much body because of the V signature. The Ref 1 still doesn't fix it because most of the emphasis is in the upper midrange, which creates another localized V shape between the large mid-bass bump and the large upper midrange spike.
 
I don't tend to wax poetic about IEMs. Only the Piano Forte VIII has made me do that, so I apologize (not really) if my impressions come off as matter of fact. It's my scientific background that requires I write the way I do. Throughout this whole thread, I don't think I had seen one concrete set of impressions that made me understand what the signature of the Ref 1 is. SoundFreaq's thoughts, as beautiful as they are, were as solid as pixie dust when it came to trying to know anything about the Ref, other than it sounds nothing like the 1plus2. It wasn't until I heard them myself that I went.."Oh." Really, the only reason I was interested in hearing these was because Gavin made them.
 

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