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My Custom Art customs make the Solaris stick out very far and the Solaris already sticks out.
Fair enough. After being blown away by a friend's Apogee Scintillas 30 years ago, I was certain that I'd prefer planar magnetic anything over DD in cans, but the one planar magnetic I did demo ($600 price range, don't remember brand) was unpleasantly hollow sounding. Whereas any of the Grados he handed me were great. OTOH, I hate my HD600. My loudspeakers have AMTs crossed over at 500 and a pair of 12" woofers, but from everything I've read, I'd be an idiot to buy the $10,000 oBravo AMT IEM. For now, I'm delighted with the Solaris, but I can't wait to attend a Canjam. At this price point, I don't want to make any more purchases without hearing them first.
Also curious to see what your examples are, if you don’t mind PMing me your response as well? At this price point I’m extremely happy with the Solaris and it doesn’t have anything I’m not happy with that cannot be remedied by cable / tip / source rolling
The Solaris neither lacks bass nor has a thinninsh midrange. It does have a dip in the upper midrange but to say it has a thin mid-range overall is misleading. It certainly doesn't have boosted bass either, but it's false to say it lacks bass. If you want to talk about lack of bass see the Noble Kahn or Tia Trio. The Z1R certainly has more/better bass but unfortunately this comes at the expense of the midrange-- in particular the lower midrange. I like my male vocals (which are much better rendered on Solaris) so this was a deal breaker for me.
Then keep it. I have owned (and loved) Solaris since March. Last month, due in part to my own curiosity, but also because of people making similar claims as the ones above I ordered a Sony IER Z1R. At first I was blown away by the deep and textured bass as well as the well extended treble. I listened to the Z1R exclusively for a couple weeks and was contemplating selling Solaris however fit issues with Z1R (it's a disaster ergonomically) compelled me to take another look at Solaris. What I found upon listening to Solaris again after two weeks of only the Z1R was very interesting. Firstly, the Z1R is much less coherent. The Solaris sound signature is very balanced, whole and complete-- it comes across as a unity. The Z1R by comparison sounds like you have 2-3 different IEMs in your ears at the same time (and the fit also makes it seem that way). While I some people don't mind it, I found myself really noticing Z1R's recessed midrange-- the Solaris has a much more balanced sound on the whole, and while the Z1R wins at sub-bass the Solaris actually has a tad more mid-bass oomph. The mid-range on the Solaris is more forward and robust than on the Z1R. Treble I would give to Z1R but not by much. In terms of soundstage, layering and instrumentation I'm sorry but the Solaris absolutely smokes the Z1R-- it's not even close. My advice to you, if you're enjoying, Solaris is to not let it go too easily-- it gets way less credit than it deserves in some quarters and what it does well cannot be matched by very many (if any) IEMs out there right now.
Yeah, I'd always recommend trying out products before buying them. One great aspect about Campfire is that they have a fantastic return policy, so if you aren't 100% satisfied, you're able to get a full refund.
I never understood weak midrange in solaris, but I've only heard a few totl performers. I just recieved the u12t and the midrange on those vs solaris, I think solaris is much more forward and thicker. U12t is great but solaris wins in the midrange. I prefer female vocals to male. One iem that sticks out that was wonderful with male vocals was the phantom.
Just make sure you take care of packaging and include all accessories. I've heard they'll give full refund unless you forget accessories or packaging gets damaged. Pretty sweet.
That's great to know, because the reference 8 cable is terrible due to "microphonics" that are not a problem with the stock 3.5 cable. The SXC 8 IEM sounds like it is a more supple cable, and I'm hoping I can exchange it. If not that one, the super litz balanced.
I don’t think I can recommend any of CA’s cables unfortunately. The stock ones are fine, but all the other ones I’ve tried (I think SXC8, SXC24, Copper22/Ref8?) have been stiff, microphonic, and prone to getting kinks. They look nice, but that doesn’t really matter when you’re constantly fighting with the wires.
Of those, the balanced super litz is probably your best bet?
I got the ref 8 last black friday. Totally agree on its terrible microphonics. It's also pretty stiff. I haven't done any A/B testing with the ref 8 and stock, but A/B testing with cables seems impossible to me.
Sound wise, I dont notice a ton of difference between ref 8 and stock, but ergonomically, the stock cable smokes the ref 8.
Not sure what what their return policy is on cables, but they tend to have great customer service, so you may have some luck.
I have a fully balanced amp, so I figure I may as well use balanced cable. The Intruder's balanced out is quieter than the 3.5 unbalanced out; that I could definitely hear. With no way to quickly A/B the two cables, I would not trust any opinion I may have about any other characteristic. I did put the stock cable back on, and I went right back to the reference 8. I was thinking of ordering the Effect Audio Vogue Virtuoso, but I'm going to see what CA can do for me.
For me, I'm on the other end of the spectrum, so to speak. I've heard a lot of the hybrids out there, and I'd place the Solaris at the top in several aspects. In fact, its excellent balance and top-to-bottom coherence was what convinced me to buy one. It helps that it's also up to 1/2 as cheap as the TOTL offerings from some of the other companies. I consider it near perfect, and the only thing I'd like in a successor, or a V2 model, is a slightly enhanced bass presence.
On the topic of the Z1R, that's the other big hybrid that I'd consider a challenger to the Solaris. Both have their strengths, and I'm happy to use either one on any given day.
I'd also take a look at the Copper28 V2 from PW Audio if you want a balanced cable. It's about half the price, and PW cables generally seem higher quality than their EA counterparts.
I see that's a copper cable. I was under the impression that SPC was a better choice for the Solaris. Is that not the case?
Honestly, I don’t see the importance in cables from a sound quality perspective. As long as they’re competently made, then it really doesn’t matter to me whether they’re copper, silver, gold, or whatever.
For me, what’s important is to have cables that look/feel nice and are light(er), pliable, and well made.