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Concise Multi-IEM Comparison (FINAL UPDATE March. 1st, 2013)

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  1. kreeayetor
    This is a superb write up! The perfect tool for the uninitiated people like me! You are a star, ClieOS! Thanks mate!
  2. Pianist
    Nice review as always. I generally agree, although I don't think RE0 and DBA-02 are really analytical. RE0 is a tubey, somewhat compressed sounding IEM that is certainly very detailed, but also balanced throughout the spectrum, except for the slight roll off in the sub bass. If you perceive it as thin and cold, then you are either used to bass heavy headphones or you are not getting a good fit. With the stock dual flange tips, RE0 leaves the balanced territory and enters the warm and sweet territory IMO. Plenty of bass punch and midrange presence with sweet, beautiful treble.
    DBA-02 is balanced IMO, provided that you get a good fit. It is a bit emphasized in the bass and treble. It is forward and extremely detailed, analytical and musical all at the same time. It's not exactly sweet and there is some sense of coldness in the treble, but bass and mids are smooth and on the warm side. Treble is not as sweet as on RE0, nor as high quality, but very good. Mids don't have the same sense of warmth that RE0 has, but they are sweetened in a different way - they are brought forward and given extra fullness and air. In the bass, DBA-02 is trying to mimic dynamics and does it very well for a BA - there is definitely some dynamic-like rumble and texture present in the low end, unlike Etymotic ER4 for example, where the bass is very different from dynamics: clearly tighter and more controlled with modest impact only when it is present on the recording and is made possible by the quality of the source.
    I agree that Etymotic ER4S is analytical, but the P is more colored and I would say mid centric. The bass is all there and present, but the dominating part of the spectrum with ER4P is the midrange, it is forward, engaging and extremely detailed but not agressive. The treble is a bit in the background compared to the mids. Not recessed, but not dominating in any way either. The sound of ER4P reminds me a lot of SE530, just a little less smooth and warm.
  3. audionewbi
    thanks, make my search a tone easier :)
  4. ClieOS Contributor
    I don't think I'll disagree with what you are saying here, perhaps just the different way we classify them. As I have said on another reply, some IEM are in the gray zone - takes DBA-02 for an example, it is fairly balanced sounding but also very detail. There is nothing wrong to put it into either group, but it has to be one or the other, or else I'll just end up with way too many categories which in term defeats the purpose of keeping this thread simple. So the decision is made by first impression, as in what grabs my first attention when I am listening to them. If it is the "detailness" of the presentation, then it goes to analytical; if it is the "balancedness" on the presentation, then it goes to balanced, etc. For DBA-02, it is the overall brightness that takes my attention, and so it goes into analytical.
    esanthosh and abhijollyguy like this.
  5. audionewbi
    Just a question, I already own ER4S and E7 with an LOD, this is my current set up. I was wondering should I buy the minibox-ES from head-direct or should I instead buy Ultimate Ears TripleFi they both cost the same for me.
    What you guys thing? I love ER4S as it is but I was thinking perhaps it would be fun to try a different IEM sound signature than just improve the same signature of ER4. I am not sure maybe the ER4 is yet to reach its full potential with a better amp
    Thanks in advance :)

  6. ClieOS Contributor
    On one hand I can see ER4S scale up with the MiniBox-ES, on the other hand I know for sure TF10 offer a different sound compared to ER4S. Personally I don't see fault in either choice. However, from purely an economy start point, MiniBox-ES has better resell value than TF10 - so if it purely an experiment to find a different sound, I'll get the MiniBox-ES first, if I am not very happy about it, sell it and get the TF10 instead. Sure you will lose some money in the process, but with luck it shouldn't be too much. However, if the goal is to just buy one of them and keep it, I'll probably opt for TF10 first.
  7. audionewbi
    ^thank you I am the kind who likes to keep things because as soon as I sell it I want it back again! I rather have it and down the track eventually buy the thing which makes it sound better. So TF10 it is :)
    My next goal is changing my DAP and AMP(waiting for fiio to see what they have for us stored in the sleeves) and eventually Westone 4. Once I get Westone 4 I probably either save up for a custom IEM or spend the money on a Burson 160D. It is so hard to be an audiophile on a university student budget :frowning2: Cannot wait till I graduate!
  8. GreatDane Contributor
    Excellent work once again ClieOS. Your time has been appreciated.
  9. audionewbi
    Yes this thread definitely deserved to be sticky.
  10. caracara08
    wow... absolutely awesome post. 
  11. average_joe Contributor



  12. rawrster
    Are you sure about the ES having good resale value? I remember a while back there was someone trying to sell the Minibox ES for a couple months with not much luck.
    This is definitely a great thread and will definitely be a help to many since we tend to have an idea of what we want but sometimes reviews make it difficult to determine the signature especially for newcomers since many reviews here are full of technical terms and are difficult to understand for people who are unfamiliar with those terms.
  13. ClieOS Contributor
    A new MiniBox-ES is about $200, so a mint condition should easily go for $150. It is however harder to sell a pair of TF10 for $150 because now there are those who expect to pay $100 new (blaming Amazon for that). So you are more likely to sell it for less than $150. Also, used IEM tends to drop value much faster then amp once you have it for some time.
  14. audionewbi
    Just ordered the TF10 thanks guys.
  15. rymd
    Ahh finally a consolidation of all the shoot-out threads. Very nice idea with describing and categorising by sound signature too.Thanks a lot
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