Comparison review: Sunrise Xcape, Panasonic HJE900 and Bose IE2
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Skoj

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This is my attempt to give an impression of three different IEM's through the ears of someone who frequently listens to music while walking, running and going to the gym.


Three IEM's and their prices
  1. Sunrise SW-Xcape (product link) - $ 90 on eBay
  2. Panasonic RP HJE-900 (product link) - $ 210 on eBay
  3. Bose MIE2 (product link) - $ 130 on Amazon (or $ 99 without microphone: Bose IE2)

I would like to thank Bose for giving me the opportunity to try out their Bose MIE2. Bose is often pushed away - "Because it's Bose" - when newcomers ask about their products, like in this thread. My intention is to open the minds of head-fi members with ingrained prejudices about Bose by comparing its new IEM with two respected IEMs in more or less the same price range.
 
Since my native language is Dutch, some sentences could screw you up really bad, but please, don't hesitate to pm me for corrections or remarks!

How do they look like on a cupboard shelf with too much light exposure?


Sunrise SW-Xcape, Panasonic RP HJE-900 and Bose MIE2


Comparison table of not-sound characteristics

  Sunrise SW-Xcape

  Panasonic RP HJE-900

  Bose MIE2 (with inline mic)

Accessories
  1. Hard EVA carrying case
  2. 3 soft silicone single-flange tips (S,M,L)
  3. Bi-flange tip (wasn't included in the first stocks for UK market)
  4. Shirt clip (wasn't included in the first stocks for UK market)
  5. Warranty card
     
 
  1. Soft carrying pouch
  2. 3 Semi-soft Silicone single-flange tips (S,M,L)
  3. Technical data sheet
 
  1. Zippered carrying case, can also carry an iPod classic
  2. 3 Silicone auricle tips (S,M,L)
  3. Shirt clip
  4. Two 2.5mm mobile phone adapters for answer/end call functionality
  5. Owner's guide
Microphonics
Very good
 
  Better than Xcape
 
  Slightly better than HJE-900
 
Comfort
Very good
 
  Average
 
  Very good
 
  1. Eartips
Of course everyone's ear is different, but the original S tip easily slips in my ear canal and doesn't move a muscle.
Since the delivered tips are small in height, it is intended for deep insertion.
Unfortunately, because of this small height, I notice a blockage by earwax of the filter inside when I wear them for a long time. This can be solved by kindly rubbing the filter with a piece of paper.

  I gave the M tip a week to get a proper fit, but it seemed just too big. The S tip is too small since it falls out immediately. Like I said for the Xcape, everyone's ear is different, so this is rather personal. I will state in this review when I use the tips of the HJE-900 or the Xcape, which also fits on the HJE-900.

  While other eartips of IEM's gently rub your ear canal, fighting with your earwax, these tips are really comfortable. It's like they are just 'hanging' somewhere next to your ear, you hardly notice them.
 
  1. Wear style
Can be worn over-the-ear.
 
  It is possibly to wear over-the-ear, but since the tips and the tale of the IEM are longer, it looks kind of strange. For the same reason, sleeping on your side while listening with the HJE-900 could be inconvenient.

  Straight down.
 
  1. Weight
Very light and flexible, doesn't fall off while running (worn over-the-ear).
 
  It is slightly heavier than the Xcape which improves falling out.
 
  Like the HJE-900, they are slightly heavier than the Xcape. When running, you feel the cable pulling at the IEM's along with your footsteps, but it stays in your ear because of the stable auricle tips. This could also be caused by the rougher cable rubbing my shirt. Of course this is not a problem when you don't feel like running with these IEM's. The added clothing clip helps a little bit.

Build Quality Average
 
  Very good  Good
 
  1. Cable
Smooth, thin cable which makes it more flexible, but also less solid.  Smooth and relative to the other two, an overall very thick cable.  Rough, and just like the Xcape, a thin cable, but the two cords from the Y-split to the IEM's are thicker.
 
  1. IEM
The housing is made of solid aluminium and you can see it's glued together. I see a weakness at the connection point because of the tiny, very flexible cable and the stiff connection casing.
Fabric-mesh filters in the nozzle, could attract dust.
  Very solid Zirconia (zirconium powder at high pressure and intense heat) housing, which would reduce the resonance in the chamber.
Metal-mesh filters in the nozzle.
  Polished plastic housing which seems solid.
Metal-mesh filters in the nozzle.
  1. Plug
Well relieved I-plug, but very flexible.
 
  I-plug, seems to be the most solid of the three.
 
  Well relieved angled (120°) plug, but very flexible.
 
Isolation Very good

Very good isolation when inserted deeply (see comfort: eartips).
  Slightly less than Xcape

The noise reduction of the HJE900 is slightly less than the Sunrise Xcape. I used both the original M tips of the HJE900 and the S tips of the Xcape.
  Bad

As stated on the packing box, the Bose MIE2 isn't designed for noise reduction. However, the noise reduction is good enough for a careful person whom wants to hear his environment while listening to music. Even when you turn up Vivaldi at his loudest, you will still hear the sound of cars trying to hit you or the closing doors of the subway in Brussels.
 

Sound

Sound was tested using an iPod Classic (120GB version). I made a song mix of different genres to review, however, the line up could change a bit. I burned them in for at least 20 hours.
 
* Unfortunately I couldn't complete the review because of my exams. After listening to them day after day, I can say they all sound pretty good. My ears are most attracted by the sound of the SW-Xcape, however you will miss a full bass when listening to hard music like hardcore. Nevertheless, the bass is perfect for tuba's etc. in classical music. If you are a more bassy person, I would go for the RP HJE-900 or the IE2 if you don't need good isolation.

 
  Sunrise SW-Xcape

  Panasonic RP HJE-900

  Bose MIE2 (with inline mic)

Sky and Sand
Paul Kalkbrenner


 
*

  *  *
First Day of My Life
Bright Eyes


 
*

  *

  *

Love Me or Leave Me
Nina Simone


 
*

  *

  *

House by The Sea
Iron & Wine


 
*

  *

  *

Too Much
Surfjan Stevens


 
*

  *

  *

The Fast Lane
Angerfist


 
*

  *

  *

The Rip
Portishead


 
*

  *

  *

Satisfaction
Cat Power


 
*

  *

  *

Take Over Control
Afrojack ft. Eva Simons


 
*

  *

  *

Part II C
Keith Jarret


 
*

  *

  *

 
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etragedy

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Looks good so far, I'm interested in hearing your sonic evaluations! 
 
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Anaxilus

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I like your style and format.  Kudos.
 
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AudiA4

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should be very interesting, not many words and more imaginable
 
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NCT

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Very nice review style!
 
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s0lar

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A clean way to compare IEM's.
 
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Kobra

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Nice review! I also like your format, makes it easy to compare 
 I've just bought myself a pair of Bose MIE2, I agree with you about their comfort. The best IEM comfort wise if you ask me. Their sound really surprised me, detailed and "airy" highs, good mids and a tight bass though not as low and strong as others. It's almost as if listening to a open backed fullsize headphone... almost.
 
I'm looking forward to read your comments on their sound.
 
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fortress34

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Nice work!
Waiting for sound impressions..
 
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Skoj

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Thank you guys for the compliments so far!
 
Unfortunately I couldn't complete the review because of my exams and because I needed to sell the Panasonic HJE-900, but I added a small sound impression. :)
 
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dweaver

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I know I'm late to the show but if you still have the sunrise and the Bose it would be cool to see them reviewed the way you were laying it all out.
 
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kanuka

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nice . very useful, as im considering the Xcape
what you mean by
Unfortunately, because of this small height, I notice a blockage by earwax of the filter inside when I wear them for a long time. This can be solved by kindly rubbing the filter with a piece of paper.
any photo of that?
if im buying them its because im expecting a very good isolation on travel (bus, cars ,etc,...)
thanks
 
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