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CIEM(s) with CK10-Type Sound Signature?

  1. EZPZ
    Hey fellow head-fiers,
    I'm looking for a CIEM that has excellent imaging, great extension on both sides of the spectrum, controlled bass, neutral or slightly forward mids, and a nice sparkly treble. Also, an airy presentation and a well rounded 3D soundstage would be ideal.
    Essentially, I'm wondering if there is a CIEM that can noticeably improve upon the already-lovely sound I'm getting from my CK10s.
    Any suggestions are welcome and much appreciated!
  2. ZARIM
    The JH13Pro are very balanced yet offers greater details in mids, highs and deep punchy bass with wider soundstage and imaging, instrument separation is amazing on these CIEMs. The other CIEMs like UERM, UM miracle are also recommended.
  3. average_joe Contributor
    The Hidition NT-6 fits the bill quite well, and the Rooth LS8 is also another option, but is warmer than the CK10.  I have reviewed both and compared them to the JH16 and many other custom IEMs.  
  4. Totally Dubbed
    ASG-1's MIGHT fit the bill:
    -mid forward
    -extend well in lows (although lack highs)
    -are very flat sounding
    -very 3d, the best I've ever heard
    -airy due to a 15mm driver + shell
  5. average_joe Contributor

    Did you mean AS-1 (or AS-1b) since the thread is for custom IEMs?  I had a brief stint with the ASG-1 and I found the overall sound to be very different than the CK10.
  6. Totally Dubbed


    meant the asg-1's - seeing as it's semi-custom.
    No idea about the CK10's - the description, looked like the asg-1
  7. EZPZ
    Thank you guys very much for the various suggestions. :)
    The JH13, Hidition NT-6, UERM, and UM Miracle all seem to have most, if not all, of the qualities that I am looking for. Anyone able make comparisons between the four? I would love to be able to gauge the relative magnitude of the differences between them, considering they all share a very similar sound signature.
    Heh, unfortunately for me, it looks like any step up from my CK10s (while retaining its general sound signature) is going to be quite a bump up in price!
    Definitely going to check out your CIEM thread, average_joe. A wealth of information awaits!
  8. tomscy2000
    If you're looking for a more budget-friendly, flat FR CIEM, you can consider the Heir Audio 4.A... it's intended to be very neutral and certainly is so. I'm enjoying mine very much. The bass is quite well extended and very well controlled, the mids are very slightly forward and with the slightest hint of warmth, and the highs are well-extended, but not overly aggressive. In fact, it's quite smooth to the ear and just sounds very coherent in every dimension --- transitioning from my DBA-02 to the 4.A has been a great experience.
  9. EZPZ
    Been doing a bit of reading on the Heir Audio 4.A, and it looks very promising. As of right now, I'm more inclined to go with the 4.A than any of the other suggestions simply due the lower cost (though in the long long long run, I do see myself owning either the JH13, Hidition NT-6, UERM, or UM Miracle).
    tomscy2000, would you mind elaborating a bit on what you think the 4.A does better than your DBA-02, and vice versa? Also, have you ever heard the CK10? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts on how the 4.A and DBA-02 compare to it.
    I know that the CK10 and the DBA-02 are said to have very similar sound signatures, but unfortunately I can't verify that myself as I've never heard the DBA-02.
  10. tomscy2000

    I have not heard the CK10, unfortunately. I know it's supposed to be the holy grail of all the TWFK-delivered IEMs, but I haven't gotten that chance at all. What I do know, however, from the comparisons between the two, is that the one thing the two do share is that treble-boosted, ultra-clarity that basically no other universal IEM manages to touch. It also opens the two up to treble fatigue if people don't wear it the right way.
    The 4.A comes very close to that sense of clarity without that significant treble boost applied to both the DBA and CK10. In that sense, the 4.A strives for true neutrality. Both the DBA and CK10 lack sub-bass response; the 4.A isn't missing that at all (except for perhaps the absolute lowest of lows below 30 Hz but it does extend all the way down to 20 Hz). It might be a common denominator shared by customs, but there is an incredbile depth to each note that simply isn't present with 99.9% of all universals I've heard. The soundstage is not exactly ginormous, but it is very accurate, meaning it can impart both intimacy and spaciousness, depending on how the music is presented. The more neutral treble presence means that you'll some of that absolute sparkle, shimmer, and air in something like the CK10, but by no means is it missing at all. In fact, it is quite present, and compared to most earrphones like the W4, it actually provides more sparkle. Thus, I find that the 4.A is quite the enjoyable reference monitor. It doesn't sound sterile at all, due to great coherence between the lows, mids, and highs. The lows especially impressed me, as they really provided oomph if the music demanded it, and went right back to being in the background whenever the bass wasn't needed.
    Basically, I think that if you do need that awesome shimmer of the CK10/DBA, something like the NT6 would probably suit you well (this is judging from the fact that average_joe quite clearly likens the NT6 to the CK10). Perhaps even the UERM (which seems to be very slightly brighter on the treble compared to the 4.A, judging from the impressions that I've read), I've listened to the demos of the JH13, and compared to the 4.A it has a slight bump in the bass response and slightly better articulation of speed and detail in a few very minor areas, but the tonal balance is actually fairly similar. Basically, while I think the JH13 is excellent, it's not exactly miles above the 4.A. I'm not sitting here with the 4.A in my head and thinking if I might've missed out by not going with the JH13. I'm guessing the UM Mage might have a little more sparkle, but I don't know at all because I've never heard it.
    All in all, I'd say the 4.A isn't merely a 'poor man's reference monitor' but an excellent product in its own right; I don't think you'll miss the mark by going with it. If you consider my own listening tastes, my top ranked universals are all highly sparkly, analytical earphones, from the FI-BA-SS to the CK100PRO. I actually the 4.A adds something extra to aspects of that type of sound while having less fatiguing, more controlled highs.
    If I were to state one thing I'd want more from the 4.A, it'd be airiness. Of course, more airiness might come at the expense of FR neutrality, but I can't be sure.
  11. AudioDwebe
    I've never done this...subscribed to a thread, that is.
    Whichever CIEM you decide to go with, please do keep a fellow CK10 lover updated.
  12. EZPZ
    After doing a bit more research and thinking, I've decided to forgo getting the Heir Audio 4.A for the time being, and focus on saving up for the Hidition NT-6. average_joe's review on the NT-6 was wonderfully illuminating and informative, and it has all but solidified my decision.
    Thanks average_joe for putting so much time and effort into your CIEM reviews! I know I'm only one of many who appreciates the work you've done. [​IMG] If you don't mind me asking, I was wondering how easy/difficult it was to order from Hidition, considering the language barrier. What was the process like, from start to finish? And about how long did it take from the time you placed your order to the time you received your NT-6? Lastly, do you have any recommendations on who to contact when placing an order? I know you can do it online, but even the English version of Hidition's website still contains a good amount of Korean, making me a bit hesitant to place an order through that channel. For peace of mind, I would love to be able to communicate directly with a representative who can help me navigate the website and answer questions, should any problems arise.
    Hey AudioDwebe,
    I'll certainly raise this thread from the dead when I finally get my NT-6, but I have no idea when that will be. Could be years! Heck, it's quite possible that you might even have a pair before I do! [​IMG] As of right now the price is just too prohibitive, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. For now, I'll just sit back, relax, and enjoy my CK10. I think we can agree that it truly is an amazing universal IEM. Certainly the best I've heard to date (even compared to the full-size headphones I've owned in the past). [​IMG]
  13. average_joe Contributor

    First, I wanted to mention the differences between the DBA-02 and CK10 from my comparisons.  The CK10 has better bass extension than the DBA-02 and better imaging with a more forward presentation and sharper treble.  What made the CK10 grab me is the imaging, giving a special "you are there in the front row of the concert" feel.  The more laid-back DBA-02 has a warmer, more forgiving, and liquid presentation providing something different, but still similar.  At least that is how the two compare for me :wink:
    Thank you for the compliment; I realize buying a custom IEM is a big step because you can't just sell them if you don't like the sound, so I try to give as much information as possible to help people with their decisions.  As far as ordering, I am a special case and this question would be best left to someone that has ordered the NT-6 recently.  I started communication with Seoung ByoungHa before they did their site transformation.  Just this year they added the ordering system which should help with understanding because there is a language barrier.  However, with the online ordering system it is much easier to make sure your artwork is correct.  My email responses usually took some time as there was a translation process going back and forth, and I don't think Google translate does the translations.  I am not sure if they have someone that can read/write English at the moment, but I will PM you Seoung ByoungHa's email.  Please let me know if you have any questions.
  14. EZPZ
    Thanks again to everyone who has contributed to this thread. I really appreciate it. :)  

    So... has anyone recently ordered the NT-6? [​IMG]
  15. average_joe Contributor

    Yep, here is the person.  And I know someone that called them from the US.

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