Earbuds Round-Up
Feb 16, 2022 at 9:14 AM Post #60,151 of 61,745

Sam L

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Even more surprising to me is that in these situations such reviewers tend to only take into consideration bass impact (slam and punch) and/or depth (sub-bass) which is greatly affected by "fitting seal" but say nothing at all about bass resolution (the resolving detail and natural timbre of the bass) which is less affected by "fitting seal" and more so by driver design, quality, and tuning. Although earbuds, more often than not, are indeed very lacking in both bass impact and depth, their open-air design offers excellent natural sounding timbre and quite superb resolution which in-turn provides excellently accurate bass resolution. And with very little "fitting seal" required; less so than what is required by an IEM. Often times earbuds may and do trump IEMs in this regards (bass resolution). Case in point... with the bass/timpani drum, double bass, and cello their timbre and detail in the lower frequencies is not always quite right with IEMs although the impact and depth is indeed most definitely there (and wondrously at that!) they are often not accurate (natural sounding) in the bass registers. Even synth bass sounds through certain IEMS can exhibit wonky bass registers (to the point of distortion) and/or muddying timbre (the mixing and complete loss of separation between different bass sounds that are supposed to be distinct and apart). Every transducer type has it's cons but also has it's pros... it just is conveniently and often forgotten when it comes to earbuds.
a post worth saving, lots of great observations and insight!

Fully agree with your qualitative assessment of how earbuds render bass, which is why I love them as my main listening genre is classical music. I also think buds, in general, convey live classical music more accurately than iems. I still appreciate iems (my last 4 or 5 purchases inside of a month were all iems) but live classical music is rendered artificially compared to a decent earbud -- and not just the bass, the treble as well, which is why I can't stand electrostatics (but I'm willing to give the s12 a chance).
 
Feb 16, 2022 at 10:42 AM Post #60,152 of 61,745

Sam L

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Today's work from home earbud...

I wouldn't recommend this because of the amount of work needed but wow, pure awesomeness. For Mac users:

This:
IMG_0525.png


Plus this:
SoundSource_and_Earbud_target_curve_tests___Page_5___Headphone_Reviews_and_Discussion_-_Head-F...png
 
Feb 16, 2022 at 6:07 PM Post #60,153 of 61,745

samandhi

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Even more surprising to me is that in these situations such reviewers tend to only take into consideration bass impact (slam and punch) and/or depth (sub-bass) which is greatly affected by "fitting seal" but say nothing at all about bass resolution (the resolving detail and natural timbre of the bass) which is less affected by "fitting seal" and more so by driver design, quality, and tuning. Although earbuds, more often than not, are indeed very lacking in both bass impact and depth, their open-air design offers excellent natural sounding timbre and quite superb resolution which in-turn provides excellently accurate bass resolution. And with very little "fitting seal" required; less so than what is required by an IEM. Often times earbuds may and do trump IEMs in this regards (bass resolution). Case in point... with the bass/timpani drum, double bass, and cello their timbre and detail in the lower frequencies is not always quite right with IEMs although the impact and depth is indeed most definitely there (and wondrously at that!) they are often not accurate (natural sounding) in the bass registers. Even synth bass sounds through certain IEMS can exhibit wonky bass registers (to the point of distortion) and/or muddying timbre (the mixing and complete loss of separation between different bass sounds that are supposed to be distinct and apart). Every transducer type has it's cons but also has it's pros... it just is conveniently and often forgotten when it comes to earbuds.
This paragraph alone is worth putting in a book, and charging for sales. :)
 
Feb 17, 2022 at 3:50 AM Post #60,154 of 61,745

Ronion

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Well, I was sent the SMABAT ST20 pro by mistake. It’s an interesting bud to say the least. It has an above average soundstage, deep and powerful bass and great resolving power, but I have serious fit issues with this bud And have to use shark fins again. Reminds me of other SMABAT buds to be honest. The machining is beautiful, but the head is too small for me and the tail too heavy. Its graphs definitely change based on fit more dramatically than anything else I’ve used. The orange is when its secure.

E9B26915-23DA-402D-9E1E-744C3A1CEDDE.jpeg
 
Feb 17, 2022 at 4:01 AM Post #60,155 of 61,745

WoodyLuvr

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Well, I was sent the SMABAT ST20 pro by mistake. It’s an interesting bud to say the least. It has an above average soundstage, deep and powerful bass and great resolving power, but I have serious fit issues with this bud And have to use shark fins again. Reminds me of other SMABAT buds to be honest. The machining is beautiful, but the head is too small for me and the tail too heavy. Its graphs definitely change based on fit more dramatically than anything else I’ve used. The orange is when its secure.
Thanks for sharing! Yeah, unfortunately there are a number of brilliantly made and splendidly sounding earbuds out there that are using exotic new variant shell type designs that sometimes prove way too difficult for many people to properly & securely fit... more so than other earbuds using traditional MX and PK shell types. To name a few: Rose Technics Maria I & II, Moondrop Chaconne, Pislo PX HIFI/PXVV, Yincrow RW-2000/3000, etc. which all have brought many people to near tears due to poor fit. Some people's ears do not play well with certain shell types, more so with new variant shell types it seems.
 
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Feb 17, 2022 at 4:49 AM Post #60,157 of 61,745

baskingshark

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Well, I was sent the SMABAT ST20 pro by mistake. It’s an interesting bud to say the least. It has an above average soundstage, deep and powerful bass and great resolving power, but I have serious fit issues with this bud And have to use shark fins again. Reminds me of other SMABAT buds to be honest. The machining is beautiful, but the head is too small for me and the tail too heavy. Its graphs definitely change based on fit more dramatically than anything else I’ve used. The orange is when its secure.

E9B26915-23DA-402D-9E1E-744C3A1CEDDE.jpeg

How is the timbre on this set?

Does the added BA make a difference in technical performance?
 
Feb 17, 2022 at 4:55 AM Post #60,158 of 61,745

captione

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Well, I was sent the SMABAT ST20 pro by mistake. It’s an interesting bud to say the least. It has an above average soundstage, deep and powerful bass and great resolving power, but I have serious fit issues with this bud And have to use shark fins again. Reminds me of other SMABAT buds to be honest. The machining is beautiful, but the head is too small for me and the tail too heavy. Its graphs definitely change based on fit more dramatically than anything else I’ve used. The orange is when its secure.

That peak... is horrible. There's no way this graph would mistranslate that huge peak :dizzy_face:
I'm glad the accessories worked out something for you.
 
Feb 17, 2022 at 11:23 AM Post #60,159 of 61,745

Ronion

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How is the timbre on this set?

Does the added BA make a difference in technical performance?
I really don’t hear the BA timbre issue on this set. On a technical level, these are certainly top shelf, but I wouldn’t say better than the best DDs, but every bit as good as. I’ve heard slightly better technical bass on a couple sets, but the bass on this is among the best I’ve heard and reminds me of how the Super One driver sounds in the M2s pro. It’s a very nice sounding bass that can handle more power than anything I own. No one’s ears need that type of abuse though, but I haven’t heard these drivers distort on anything.

You are absolutely correct @captione! Before I put the little rubber earbud cover and shark fin on theses buds, that spike was brutal. Eardrum spiking pickaxe brutal! With a good fit, these are among my best buds. However, even with the fins on, these don’t work well on the go. The shells are just too heavy outside of the ear and even rotational slipping is an issue with this set. The sound hole has to be aligned just right to sound its best. With careful rotation, you can probably get a signature that’s near perfect for you (or anyone) and getting the shark fin to hold it there is not too difficult when stationary, but as soon as you move around and get sweaty, even the shark fins slip. For me, the whole point in having buds is being able to use them on the go. Tricky fits and stiff cables are really a fail as far as I can tell.

@WoodyLuvr: There’s something to be said for the tried and true traditional shapes. there are certainly reasons for their popularity and longevity. The PK is still my overall favorite though the Monk/Zen Lite/Qian 39 shape is the most comfortable. I just haven’t heard a superb bud in that shape. The Zen Lite is decent with the right foams, but it never does deep bass or airy treble, but it is smooth and warm while retaining a good amount of detail and composure when called upon to do so. MX500 is where the bang for the buck occurs. I seem to have trained my ears to readily accept them now, but the PK are barely noticeably and the lites just disappear. The fact that the PK and Lite shells also graph very consistently tells me a lot about how they fit. The MX are definitely trickier than them, but still easier than any other shape. All of my SMABATs graph and sound more consistent with shark fins. They should come in the box. The M2s pro and M0 are too fat for the tragus, the ST20 is too thin…. The ST20 is more comfortable with the shark fins because it sits so easily in the tragus. That’s why it need the shark fins: it slips right out. The other two need to deform the tragus to get to the ear canal which requires pressure. It’s less comfortable, but the rotation issue doesn’t exist. In the future, I’m sticking to traditional shapes until someone improves them. The Earbuds Anonymous, DP100, and MX760 shapes are also very good and somewhere in between the MX500 and PK for me as far as fit goes.
 
Feb 17, 2022 at 12:12 PM Post #60,160 of 61,745

jogawag

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Well, I was sent the SMABAT ST20 pro by mistake. It’s an interesting bud to say the least. It has an above average soundstage, deep and powerful bass and great resolving power, but I have serious fit issues with this bud And have to use shark fins again. Reminds me of other SMABAT buds to be honest. The machining is beautiful, but the head is too small for me and the tail too heavy. Its graphs definitely change based on fit more dramatically than anything else I’ve used. The orange is when its secure.

E9B26915-23DA-402D-9E1E-744C3A1CEDDE.jpeg
You can try "NiceHCK Washable Eartips Soft Earbud Silicone Rings".
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002433465841.html
 
Feb 17, 2022 at 1:44 PM Post #60,161 of 61,745

Sam L

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I got my sony linkbuds late last night, strange on two accounts: 1) they are 5 days early; 2) came in so late, I didn't notice until early this morning. I can't remember getting Amazon deliveries in my area past 9pm.

I grabbed the box on my way out to the office. I don't have my buds live to compare. The only gear I have with me today is my 120ohm DIY Bery earbud and the moondrop kato.

Some quick impressions based on 10 mins of listening. (not much time on them, I know, but I wanted to get something posted before I get tied up in meetings for the next 6 hours.)
  • I can see why Linus in his quick impressions reacted with a "woah, these are different." They sound very bud like but also very headphone-ish and iem-ish. They sound great but very weird because of the following reasons:
    • the mid bass is there and very present in some recordings. It's never mid/upper bass anemic.
    • the sub bass drops off a cliff, so some recordings sound bizarre. The interesting thing is eq (via sony app) does absolutely nothing for the sub bass, as would be expected with this type of format.
    • the upper mids carry a good deal of energy, very resolving, yet don't sound as peaky as the graph placed in this thread earlier suggests.
    • treble has more definition than earbuds, very iem-ish.
  • Soundstage is really engaging, wider than iems, but not necessarily wider than buds. There's something unique about the soundstage with the linkbuds. I need to listen more to figure out what it is. I've never been one to listen closely to depth or height of soundstage (mostly cause I don't know if I could even pick out the differences) but I feel the linkbuds merit some effort to figure out if the staging is deeper than other earbuds/iems/tws. But staging on the linkbuds is definitely unique.
  • the ambient passthrough (via the hole) is super effective. nothing can compare to it, even the airpods, or buds live.
  • the one comparison I can make against the buds live, from memory, is that the buds live has way more bass presence. The buds live adjust to eq quite well compared to the linkbuds. on the Samsung buds live, the dynamic setting changes the sound very noticeably and with that setting sounds distinctly v-shaped. The linkbuds cannot be adjusted to match the bass output of the buds live. The buds live sub bass is also pretty much non-existent but it doesn't just disappear like a black hole (as it does with the linkbuds.)
  • the linkbuds fit more securely than the buds live (to my ear). Both are equally comfortable. I can wear both all day and not notice.
 
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Feb 17, 2022 at 1:55 PM Post #60,162 of 61,745

RikudouGoku

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the sub bass drops off a cliff
More than usual for a bud?

  • the ambient passthrough (via the hole) is super effective. nothing can compare to it, even the airpods, or buds live.
Less isolation than buds?


  • the linkbuds fit more securely than the buds live (to my ear). Both are equally comfortable. I can wear both all day and not notice.
How big is it?
 
Feb 17, 2022 at 4:03 PM Post #60,163 of 61,745

Sam L

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Feb 17, 2022 at 6:08 PM Post #60,164 of 61,745

samandhi

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I got my sony linkbuds late last night, strange on two accounts: 1) they are 5 days early; 2) came in so late, I didn't notice until early this morning. I can't remember getting Amazon deliveries in my area past 9pm.

I grabbed the box on my way out to the office. I don't have my buds live to compare. The only gear I have with me today is my 120ohm DIY Bery earbud and the moondrop kato.

Some quick impressions based on 10 mins of listening. (not much time on them, I know, but I wanted to get something posted before I get tied up in meetings for the next 6 hours.)
Fantastic! Good for you (though I'm jealous, I have to wait till Monday).

Do you find the sound overall pretty good, considering there is only AAC and SBC onboard? That was the one thing I was worried most about.
 
Feb 17, 2022 at 9:21 PM Post #60,165 of 61,745

Sam L

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Fantastic! Good for you (though I'm jealous, I have to wait till Monday).

Do you find the sound overall pretty good, considering there is only AAC and SBC onboard? That was the one thing I was worried most about.
The sound is excellent in regards to the codec. the aac implementation is good played through my iphone. I haven't check with my lg v60 yet. The linkbuds won't be replacing my earbuds when I'm stationary. but I'll be reaching for the linkbuds over my airpods every time. I think the linkbuds will be a great compliment for the average tws user who values good passthrough audio. They do passthrough better than anything out there and the sound profile is so unique that it's worth keeping around just for that.
 

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