Earbuds Round-Up
Sep 17, 2022 at 5:03 AM Post #64,906 of 67,024

FranQL

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IMO it's not as simple as higher impedance equals better resolution because as you mentioned before there are a lot of other variables at play that would have to be controlled for to make that statement true.

Then beyond that you have to ask yourself if you have the amplification power to actually provide proper power (and current) to a high impedance earbud to actually allow it to perform at a level that will give you that increased resolution.

For example a high impedance, low sensitivity bud like the Yinman 600s are basically a desktop earbud because of the power they require to reach maximum perormance. I have used mine with powerful portable sources and can get the volume, but while the loss of detail and control isn't huge it is noticeable. So you also have to ask yourself if you're looking for a pair of buds with such extreme requirements that potentially limit their mobility or performance if used in mobile or portable applications.

Now for the comparison you just drew between the Yinman 600s and the RW-3000s. I own and like both and have amps that are more than powerul enough to get the best out of them. Others here may disagree with this, but even at their best, I don't find the 600s to be as resolving/detailed as the RW-3000. It is still a detailed earbud for sure, but I think the RW-3000 and a few others I own or have heard best it. The 600s are also significantly warmer than the RW-3000s. I would liken it to the difference between the Sennheiser HD600/HD650 and the HD660S. The former being known for warmth, the later being widely acknowledged as quite a bit less warm while still having some warmth to its mid range in particular.

Unfortunately, in this hobby you often can't draw reliable a = b comparisons like that because there are just too many variables at play. As you listen to more and more transducers from all mediums you'll come to understand what I mean.

When giving advice or making suggestions I try to keep things as simple as possible, but oversimplifying can lead to significant disappointment so I promise you I'm not just bringing this up to be complicated or pedantic. I'm using some of my scarce break time to say this because I don't want to see you fall into the trap of oversimplifying to the point where the extrapolations you're making no longer reflect the reality you'll eventually contend with.

I hope this helped rather than just made things complicated and I'll try to keep an eye out for follow up questions.

P.S. Sorry for any typos. I typed this in a rush on a phone with my caveman thumbs! 😜

Edit: I should add that, for me personally, really high impedance/low sensitivity buds have limited usefulness. I do love earbuds and I do occasionally use them while sitting as my desk or near a powerful desktop amp, but for the most part I like the freedom earbuds provide by unblocking my ear canals and being driveable from a powerful portable amp, combo, or DAP. I own a few pairs of 600ohm buds (though 1 was free and another purchased as part of a lot) and would potentially buy others if I thought they offered something exceptional that I couldn't get elsewhere. I also have high impedance drivers for DIYing as well. That said, for the most part from here on out I will likely be sticking to buds 300-400ohms (and that aren't of low sensitivity) and below because they fit the use cases that I love earbuds for. Obviously that may not apply to you at all, but I figured it might be useful to explain. Cheers!


Totally agree, it's like having the world's best headset or IEM and these are not comfortable in your ears, or directly uncomfortable, at least I won't use them.

but, here I make a nuance... the mind, the brain, our obsessive-compulsive capacity plays a very important role:

Right now I'm taking my dog out with BTR3k and my 600 Ohm, and yes, it sounds spectacular, incredible... it's worth using it even knowing that it will scale more and better with a powerful amplifier... the question is will you be able to use it knowing that it can sound even better?

I can, because it can sound a little better, but with BTR3k it's still my favorite sound bud.

In line with this need for power, the best of the best, I am no exception, so a few days ago I was looking at DAPs, which of course I am convinced that I "need" (or I think I need) the best and more powerful to get the most out of the hobby, it is a micro plus of sound that will make a difference (I laugh myself when writing it). So I looked at models, all from €1,000, and above €1,500 flagships all the way up to much higher even €3,000-4,000.

Well any of them covers my autosuggested need for power as a source for me, my mind told me this is your thing for this hobby, and they are... but, a quick look at the hardware put me on the ground, these super DAP megatolt They have the same specifications of an android phone from 4 years ago!!!!! in some models 7 or more... that is to say a level of performance... uhhhhh. Only a need for better sound, more power, or pure sound-oriented justifications can lead to buying them

If the technology is obsolete by definition in a short time, in these DAPs you are guaranteed a mediocre performance in much less time, and of course the need for a new and more fluid DAP.

So I skipped them.... I don't have a DAP tolt that satisfies me to listen to anything but €2000 is hard for me to earn LOL

In my opinion they should have TOLT specifications for hardware at the same level as they do for sound....
 
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Sep 17, 2022 at 5:17 AM Post #64,907 of 67,024

yaps66

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BTW! Out of curiosity (and this is for everyone also), when you order a set of buds, and have a choice of connectors which do you prefer? Normally I will get 2.5mm balanced.
[/spoiler]
My preference is 4.4. While it has not happened to me yet, too many horror stories from head-fiers of the 2.5mm breaking on them causing knock-on damage to either iem or dap or both! I can live with more chonky adapters. They inspire more confidence! YMMV of course!
 
Sep 17, 2022 at 5:45 AM Post #64,908 of 67,024

o0genesis0o

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In my experience, and having had head gear for lots of years (I am in my 50s), boosting the "shouty" region is really a lazy way of offering (the perception of) clarity without having to tune the treble region well, which (in their defense) IS one of the most difficult parts to tune right.

In my experience, IEMs can get away with slightly poor tuning if the treble extension is good enough. Case and point: Campfire Andromeda 2020. Without its extended and very well control treble “air”, it would not have that micro details and holographic imagine, and would just be a warm; slightly off IEM.

To think about it, “treble” is a very wide range of frequencies. There are many kinds of harshness in that region as well.

Still, I think ear gain around 3k is important. How much is a different question and seems to be determined in conjunction with the amount of lower midrange and midbass.


Unfortunately, in this hobby you often can't draw reliable a = b comparisons like that because there are just too many variables at play. As you listen to more and more transducers from all mediums you'll come to understand what I mean.

That’s why I break the A/B test into small elements.

Still, sometimes I think many of us “audiophile” (me) need to get out of our bubble and get the impressions from casual listeners once in a while. We (I) can get too focused on small things and forget the overall picture.

For example, I care about only resolution and staging, but it’s apparently that most casual listeners that I get feedback from recently have zero idea nor care nor appreciate those. They want crisp, clear, good bass (no, not dirty bass, even casual listeners seem to be able to recognise bad bass).

At one point on here @WoodyLuvr almost stopped giving ANY sort of recommendations because some nasty people decided to PM him with nasty messages because they didn't like the sound of his recommendations at all (how petty/immature/unrealistic/ignorant can one be?).

Jezz, what’s wrong with people?
Nice work! Those metallic shells deserve better drivers.

Thanks! Those PEEK+PU (?) drivers are surprisingly decent. In fact, they got better feedback from my colleagues than my 64 ohm Ti composite driver. Still, I want more. Perhaps some thing 300 ohm?
 
Sep 17, 2022 at 5:48 AM Post #64,909 of 67,024

o0genesis0o

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Totally agree, it's like having the world's best headset or IEM and these are not comfortable in your ears, or directly uncomfortable, at least I won't use them.

but, here I make a nuance... the mind, the brain, our obsessive-compulsive capacity plays a very important role:

Right now I'm taking my dog out with BTR3k and my 600 Ohm, and yes, it sounds spectacular, incredible... it's worth using it even knowing that it will scale more and better with a powerful amplifier... the question is will you be able to use it knowing that it can sound even better?

I can, because it can sound a little better, but with BTR3k it's still my favorite sound bud.

In line with this need for power, the best of the best, I am no exception, so a few days ago I was looking at DAPs, which of course I am convinced that I "need" (or I think I need) the best and more powerful to get the most out of the hobby, it is a micro plus of sound that will make a difference (I laugh myself when writing it). So I looked at models, all from €1,000, and above €1,500 flagships all the way up to much higher even €3,000-4,000.

Well any of them covers my autosuggested need for power as a source for me, my mind told me this is your thing for this hobby, and they are... but, a quick look at the hardware put me on the ground, these super DAP megatolt They have the same specifications of an android phone from 4 years ago!!!!! in some models 7 or more... that is to say a level of performance... uhhhhh. Only a need for better sound, more power, or pure sound-oriented justifications can lead to buying them

If the technology is obsolete by definition in a short time, in these DAPs you are guaranteed a mediocre performance in much less time, and of course the need for a new and more fluid DAP.

So I skipped them.... I don't have a DAP tolt that satisfies me to listen to anything but €2000 is hard for me to earn LOL

In my opinion they should have TOLT specifications for hardware at the same level as they do for sound....

Perhaps VE megatron attached to a phone?

I look for a DAP because the dongle+phone combo is kind of annoying in practice: get tangled, disconnecting, random crackling sound, etc.
 
Sep 17, 2022 at 5:54 AM Post #64,910 of 67,024

FranQL

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Perhaps VE megatron attached to a phone?

I look for a DAP because the dongle+phone combo is kind of annoying in practice: get tangled, disconnecting, random crackling sound, etc.
I have megatron, but I only use it for buds and above 150 Ohm, for less impedance, more sensitive buds or IEM has a noise floor, it is not designed for this.

VE Megatron is the best value for money for Buds (IMO) hands down. But carrying it in your pocket... I don't think it's the best because of its size + the phone or dap, on the fly I will bet on btr7 or IFI go blue
 
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Sep 17, 2022 at 6:03 AM Post #64,911 of 67,024

o0genesis0o

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I have megatron, but I only use it for buds and above 150 Ohm, for less impedance, more sensitive buds or IEM has a noise floor, it is not designed for this.

VE Megatron is the best value for money for Buds (IMO) hands down. But carrying it in your pocket... I don't think it's the best because of its size + the phone or dap, on the fly I will bet on btr7 or IFI go blue

If you have Android phone, I think BTR7 is a very good idea. LDAC or any fancy Apt-X codec produce very good sound quality. If you have iPhone, I would reconsider a bit. Personally, I hear a noticeable drop in separation and soundstage when using BTR5 with iPhone via AAC. Would BTr5 sound bad with iPhone? No, it's perfectly alright. But there is a noticeable gain with wired connection.
 
Sep 17, 2022 at 6:18 AM Post #64,912 of 67,024

ttorbic

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I have bought on @JAnonymous5150 recommendations and they are always spot on!

I also own a bud made by @tgx78 so can also attest to how good they are though I have not heard either the Serratus or Alpha. However I just purchased both on the recommendation of other head-fiers that I trust!
Nice, congrats! I'm pretty certain that you will enjoy them both :)
 
Sep 17, 2022 at 6:28 AM Post #64,913 of 67,024

o0genesis0o

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FF3_2.JPG

FF3_10.JPG

FF3_8.JPG

(Putting photos into spoiler tag to reduce bandwidth, as @WoodyLuvr explained)
 
Sep 17, 2022 at 6:41 AM Post #64,914 of 67,024

JAnonymous5150

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I have megatron, but I only use it for buds and above 150 Ohm, for less impedance, more sensitive buds or IEM has a noise floor, it is not designed for this.

VE Megatron is the best value for money for Buds (IMO) hands down. But carrying it in your pocket... I don't think it's the best because of its size + the phone or dap, on the fly I will bet on btr7 or IFI go blue

I own a couple expensive DAPs, but I freely admit that I mostly use them for local playback and I never use them for anything but music so security and the most up to date Android version isn't necessary. I even have a separate google account that I use only on my DAPs and for their music and absolutely nothing else so that if they were ever to get hacked/compromised there won't be credit cards, sensitive passwords, or other info attached to them.

A powerful dedicated DAP allows me to use a range of over ear headphones and high impedance earbuds on the go on the same device that I can then use sensitive IEMs on all without tying my phone up or unnecessarily draining my phone's battery. A dedicated DAP is as close as you can get to the abilities of a desktop rig in a portable form.

Certain high power portable combos like the ifi Gryphon, Diablo, etc are beginning to change that, but even a combo that can run that range of transducers isn't as flexible because with our current tech they all drain your phone noticably faster and/or tie up your phone in ways that make using it for much else useless.

Thus, as a guy who uses his phone a lot for business, head-fi, and tons of other stuff ranging from important tasks to nonsense a good, powerful DAP that I use only for music (no internet cruising. period!) and take proper privacy/security precautions with remains my go to option for mobile listening. I'm also lucky enough to be in a financial position where I don't have to limit myself to a single form factor for mobile listening. I also use various dongles and portable combos for when I don't want two devices and/or for short trips where phone battery and calls aren't likely to matter much.

I have to admit that my recent experience with some non-Android DAPs has me looking for powerful, high end, non-Android players to potentially eventually replace my Android DAPs with versions based around purely local playback abilities. The problem is that then I would be unable to open the Qobuz app for instance and download a newly created playlist of brand new releases when I am on a secure network (home for example) for playback throughout the day and would instead limit me to playing only files in my current collection and specifically files on whatever SD card I have with me of that I have transfered to the DAPs internal memory.

So as you can see, even with a user who limits the features they use, an Android based DAP can be a very useful and cool thing for a music lover to have. Maybe relating all this will help you think through how you want to proceed with buying or not buying a player for yourself since you and I definitely share some of the same concerns when looking at these devices. I hope so anyways. Good luck and happy hunting!
 
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Sep 17, 2022 at 6:55 AM Post #64,915 of 67,024

FranQL

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I own a couple expensive DAPs, but I freely admit that I mostly use them for local playback and I never use them for anything but music so security and the most up to date Android version isn't necessary. I even have a separate google account that I use only on my DAPs and for their music and absolutely nothing else so that if they were ever to get hacked/compromised there won't be credit cards, sensitive passwords, or other info attached to them.

A powerful dedicated DAP allows me to use a range of over ear headphones and high impedance earbuds on the go on the same device that I can then use sensitive IEMs on all without tying my phone up or unnecessarily draining my phone's battery. A dedicated DAP is as close as you can get to the abilities of a desktop rig in a portable form.

Certain high power portable combos like the ifi Gryphon, Diablo, etc are beginning to change that, but even a combo that can run that range of transducers isn't as flexible because with out current tech they all drain your phone noticably faster and/or tie up your phone in ways that make using it for much else useless.

Thus, as a guy who uses his phone a lot for business, head-fi, and tons of other stuff ranging from important tasks to nonsense a good, powerful DAP that I use only for music (no internet cruising. period!) and take proper privacy/security precautions with remains my go to option for mobile listening. I'm also lucky enough to be in a financial position where I don't have to limit myself to a single form factor for mobile listening to I also use various dongles and portable combos for when I don't want two devices and/or short trips where phone battery and calls aren't likely to matter much.

I have to admit that my recent experience with some non-Android DAPs has me looking for powerful, high end, non-Android players to potentially eventually replace my Android DAPs with versions based around purely local playback abilities. The problem is that then I would be unable to open the Qobuz app for instance and download a newly created playlist of brand new releases when I am on a secure network (home for example) for playback throughout the day and would instead limit me to playing only files in my current collection and specifically files on whatever SD card I have with me of that I have transfered to the DAPs internal memory.

So as you can see, even with a user who limits the features they use, an Android based DAP can be a very useful and cool thing for a music lover to have. Maybe relating all this will help you think through how you want to proceed with buying or not buying a player for yourself since you and I definitely share some of the same concerns when looking at these devices. I hope so anyways. Good luck and happy hunting!

I currently use sony nw-a105, and it is very curious what you have commented on the google account or the importance you give to security, paranoid I do exactly the same.

this dap doesn't tick all the boxes, the battery life is ridiculously short and the power output is... let's leave it at what it is... so that's why I'm going with the more expensive daps...

Maybe as you said and also as recommend me @jeejack , a non-android DAP could be enough, sticking to local files and giving up the streaming music that I have become fond of over the years.
 
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Sep 17, 2022 at 7:15 AM Post #64,916 of 67,024

JAnonymous5150

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Maybe as you said and also as recommend me @jeejack , a non-android DAP could be enough, sticking to local files and giving up the streaming music that I have become fond of over the years.

The a105's battery life is notoriously bad and, having demoed one myself, I agree that the power isn't great though I thought it sounded pretty good.

As for the non-Android DAPs, I'm not convinced yet that I want to give up the ability to use streaming services or even just to access the full catalog available with those services on my DAP just yet. Right now I'm just seeing what's out there as far as high end and powerful non-Android players just to see what options are available if I do decide to switch.

Either way, I'm sure you'll figure it out. 👍
 
Sep 17, 2022 at 8:16 AM Post #64,917 of 67,024

ttorbic

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Just picked up the VE Megatron, and while it works well with my MacBook, it does not play audio properly through my Google Pixel 6a. I had read online that some of the older Pixels were incompatible with the Megatron, but I had hoped that this would be addressed in 6a and Android 13. Apparently not...bit sad, but I'll most likely list it for sale on the classified ads page.

Edit: Fix found! Turning on the developer setting resolved the issue! Now I can use the Megatron with my Pixel 6a :)
 
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Sep 17, 2022 at 9:54 AM Post #64,918 of 67,024

mt877

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No, no. It is all good, and I would be ashamed if my posts were mostly consisting of one-word posts or the like. And, thank you for the complement BTW! I always try my best to help others when they ask (though sometimes I DO like to just chat about stupid stuff lol).

I tend to post more on this thread than others not only because I really love buds, but the people here are much easier to talk to than on some other threads. Head-Fi still has some of those "elitists" that it used to be known for, and those threads are full of (argumentative or passive aggressive) tension at the best of times; outright arguing at their worst. Here I feel relaxed and don't mind sharing my thoughts. I don't feel like someone is going to get nasty with me for sharing information (whether it be right or wrong) because it is only EVER meant to be helpful rather than "showing off" like some people tend to like to do. :wink:

Anyhow, I am not sure if you ever got a chance to test with the M4, but have you had a chance to change out filters? If so, what are your thoughts on the differences and with which driver did they make the most difference? I would be very interested in hearing your impressions on them. I still haven't ordered them, but I may throw them in the cart if/when I order the rest of the drivers that I didn't this time around.

I don't have a desktop, but I DO have a computer room or office which I sometimes hook up my laptop to the larger monitor. But normally I use a gaming laptop or a Surface Pro somewhere else in my house (on the couch while watching TV or listening to some head gear for instance). Rarely am I out and am able to get on Head-Fi. Most times if I am out, it is in some mechanical room, or boiler room, and don't get a good phone signal anyhow. So, I quit carrying my personal cell phone into these areas and just leave it out in my vehicle.

BTW! Out of curiosity (and this is for everyone also), when you order a set of buds, and have a choice of connectors which do you prefer? Normally I will get 2.5mm balanced. My DX300 has all three major connectors (3.5mm SE, 4.4mm and 2.5mm balanced), but even if I switch to another DAP, I find 2.5mm to be the most compatible for adapters to size ratio. For one, you can go from SE to balanced out of DAPs, but not the other way around. And having a 4.4mm and trying to adapt that down to 3.5mm SE requires a pretty sizeable/bulky adapter, where 2.5mm to 3.5mm SE is a pretty small (inline) adapter from my experience.
The middle ones are some of my adapters, the top ones are some (not all) of my modular connectors.
I ordered the Super One driver and tuning damper set at the same time. Haven't received the tuning damper set yet.

I posted this graph before, now as a refresher... Factory tuning is M4+type3 damper. Looks like the dampers will be used to tune the upper bass through upper midrange region. It will be a game of finding the right mix of driver and damper to get the "perfect" individual tuning.

In all there are 24 possible driver and damper combinations to try. Then add different types of earbud foams to that mix and you have a smorgasbord of tuning possibilities that are a little mind boggling. It might seem daunting with all the combinations, but having some ability to tune the M4 to individual sound preferences gives the end user control that other earbuds don't offer.

Edit: It's a good thing Smabat made the M4 driver swap so easy. It would be a major pain and risk of damage if you had to solder / unsolder drivers like 1st gen.

40Ω LCP Composite + Type3 (factory tuning); + Type 1; + Type 2; + Type 4
ST10S B&G 150Ω Ti + Type3 (factory tuning); + Type 1; + Type 2; + Type 4
Super One 100Ω + Type3 (factory tuning); + Type 1; + Type 2; + Type 4
ST20Pro Black Coated BioFilm 100Ω + Type3 (factory tuning); + Type 1; + Type 2; + Type 4
ST20 Large Size LCP 50Ω + Type3 (factory tuning); + Type 1; + Type 2; + Type 4
In Ear Fullrange Balanced Armature + Type3 (factory tuning); + Type 1; + Type 2; + Type 4



Tuning damper kit FR graph.jpg
 
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Sep 17, 2022 at 10:06 AM Post #64,919 of 67,024

Ronion

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Just picked up the VE Megatron, and while it works well with my MacBook, it does not play audio properly through my Google Pixel 6a. I had read online that some of the older Pixels were incompatible with the Megatron, but I had hoped that this would be addressed in 6a and Android 13. Apparently not...bit sad, but I'll most likely list it for sale on the classified ads page.
Sorry to hear that.

my maxed out portable rig is to take one of my portable amps attached to a dongle. The FiiO e12 MB, A5, or my little bear B4-X. I never have any compatibility issues and I’ve got all the power I could ever want. The B4-X doesn’t have the greatest batter life, but it lasts long enough for my lunch break or a walk in the park. The e12MB and A5 can last all day without a problem. All these amps really compete with my desktop stuff though I admit they are not quite there.
 
Sep 17, 2022 at 10:37 AM Post #64,920 of 67,024

mt877

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I currently use sony nw-a105, and it is very curious what you have commented on the google account or the importance you give to security, paranoid I do exactly the same.

this dap doesn't tick all the boxes, the battery life is ridiculously short and the power output is... let's leave it at what it is... so that's why I'm going with the more expensive daps...

Maybe as you said and also as recommend me @jeejack , a non-android DAP could be enough, sticking to local files and giving up the streaming music that I have become fond of over the years.

The a105's battery life is notoriously bad and, having demoed one myself, I agree that the power isn't great though I thought it sounded pretty good.

As for the non-Android DAPs, I'm not convinced yet that I want to give up the ability to use streaming services or even just to access the full catalog available with those services on my DAP just yet. Right now I'm just seeing what's out there as far as high end and powerful non-Android players just to see what options are available if I do decide to switch.

Either way, I'm sure you'll figure it out. 👍
Maybe you guys already saw this, but just in case you or others haven't, check out the High-Res Portable Daps comparison chart 2022. Everything there from Entry level to High-End Pro. The charts make it easy to find that DAP that satisfies the balance of operating system, specific DAC, output connector type, output power and battery life. One other thing I like about the charts is that it shows the location of the output jacks. If you like your jacks at the bottom or at the top of a DAP, then you can look for that attribute as well.

Edited to include @FranQL's post.
 
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