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FEARLESS Audio IEM's Discussion/Impressions

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  1. jsmiller58
    Everyone talks about the linear bass of the Roland, and the graphs I remember seeing seem to bear that out (very slight rise of 5dB, where the treble is still 5dB higher than the bass goes). And that’s what I am having trouble wrapping my head around... I have the S8F and really love them. I have lots of other IEMs and the only one that challenges it in my collection is the IMR R2 Aten. The S8F’s FR curve is almost perfectly aligned with the Harman response curve. My other IEMs all sound better to me when I EQ them to be close to the Harman curve...

    Whether you like that reference or not is a different point - the point I am making is that I seem to gravitate towards the Harman reference FR curve, and is an important part of my selection criteria. The Roland’s curve is very flat, without as much of the mids and bass rise of the Harman. In the end I have a hard time believing the tech makes the response curve results sound different - the tech can make achieving a response curve more or less doable, the tech can add other attributes such as texture, better/worse phase, etc. But the FR is the FR... I would speculate that any other IEM with the Roland FR people would be claiming is overly bright with no bass... but owners of the Roland don’t seem to be saying that...

    So, my question is this for the owners of the Roland... does it sound much brighter than an IEM that has a Harman-like FR? If not, can you speculate why your ears might not be hearing the response curve the way that it would sound on other IEMs with the same curve as the Roland?
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
    Owludio and progdvd like this.
  2. Hawaiibadboy Contributor
    S8F and an M11?

    I use that DAP daily and it was in today's vid. My opinion that was no different from DX220 still stands and that DX220 never gets used but M11 does. Grab the combo. I will always rec a whole setup over just IEM.


    The treble in S8F is much more intense than Roland. It's a jarring departure. Overly bright is not a term I would ever think of. The bass like the EX1000 reacts to EQ input with precision. no brightness like EX1000 which makes it a step up from my thrice cable modded EX1000's
    Owludio and progdvd like this.
  3. jsmiller58
    Thanks Chris. But that just makes me question the value of an FR in predicting what the tonality of an IEM might be... :frowning2:...
  4. progdvd
    Yes I like Harman curve it's fun.
    My current B400 flat, boring and dull unEQ'd. After elevating bass and treble even $200 4BA can sound amazing Screenshot_20190909_184608_com.maxmpz.audioplayer.jpg
    Which makes music come alive and something like this gives me goosebumps.


    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
    Owludio and jsmiller58 like this.
  5. soundblast75
    Chris is right about everything he said of Roland.
    At first i was kinda disappointed, but as i have so many dap options, as soon as you eq it it's a dream iem.
    Now, Solaris has a breathing, prominent treble next to it, LX or everything else i can think of is bad at EQing, so Roland needs a bass and treble boost to start comparing to the other totl iems.
    As soon as you do that, the clarity and flat curve stayes, but bass becomes sweet,deep and extended.treble is always smooth, not sure what to say about that, electrostatic id expect to be super extended but unobtrusive, instead its a bit backgroundish, yet all is there.
    Anyways, the point is, Roland sings, details and inspires listening to your music all over again.
    Yet if you have Solaris, i don't see a reason to change.
    I will because I'm me and i need that.
    Id keel LX too, but it has to go for financial reasons.
    Btw, im using Roland with LPGT with Rock mode, awesome stuff, without it it's ok on some tracks, too thin on others.Also, the XRC on LGPT gets use for the first time without worsening things
    Owludio and progdvd like this.
  6. jsmiller58
    OK, now that is really interesting!!

    I don’t want to spend over $1K and have to EQ to get the sound signature I want... But, and I have to stress, that is just me, and others may be perfectly OK with EQing (as I conclude you are). I would rather have filter options included with the IEM to tune in the sound sig (my beef with EQ has to do with bit perfect and MQA not playing nice with EQ).

    Your observations have helped me a lot... basically I will keep looking...
    Redcarmoose and warriorpoet like this.
  7. warriorpoet
    I like the R2 Aten, too. It's one of my favorites for the thing it does, that supernatural macro-detail tonality thing, the "effected" sound, heavy V type deal. It's superb at soundspace and making even the dullest track "fun"

    However, neither the S8F or R2 are particularly close to the Harman curve. They're more of a V, with the S8F more of a warm, elevated Crin-neutral target (closer to DF) or shallow V than a Harman. Here are a couple comparisons for you:

    graph (28).png
    graph (29).png
    graph (30).png

    I wish I could find a similar FR to the Roland on Crin's database, but the best way I can describe it is a combination of the Ety ER2XR bass and a shifted and less severe Anole VX FR (no big jump at 6-8k).

    graph (31).png

    If you plot that to Harman it looks like this
    graph (32).png

    But if you plot it closer to Crin's neutral. which is to say, closer to the S8F, it looks more like this
    graph (33).png

    So what does that mean?

    Roland is slightly hotter than normal in the sub bass, just about neutral through about 5k, and slightly warmer than neutral from 8k and up. It's not a crazy V shape or extra warm through the mid-bass, and it's not hyped in the treble, in fact, it's rather relaxed in the upper treble compared to the S8F, but there's more tangible detail, texture and space. The staging isn't as immediate, but more spread out.

    What does that mean for listening? It's a more neutral "live" sound than the S8s, less warm, but not entirely clinical. The bass is more natural in its decay, but not as forward, especially not in the mid bass. The mids come forward not because they are hyped, but because the mid bass isn't elevated, and the upper mids and lower treble regions fall back into place rather than poking out. Coming from the S8P, it'll sound like the Roland is quite mid-forward, but that's less to do with Roland than it is to do with a lack of S8F's forward midbass. Once acclimated, it's the Roland that emerges as the more natural monitor, and the S8 as the more colored.

    If you listen to a lot of compressed tracks, scooped or brick walled music, Roland will feel a little foreign- it isn't a modern consumer-style presentation. If you listen to a lot of orchestral or American Songbook type recordings, warm recordings or analog stuff, it's heaven. Beethoven and Roland are made for each other, and Fleetwood Mac is just awesome. With a little EQ, a decent V shape can absolutely be coaxed from Roland, but that's not its default, and not why you'd buy it.

    It's just different, and a different I quite like. Impactful but not overbearing, flat but not boring, neutral but not cold, relaxing but not dull, textured but not grainy, airy but not diffuse. It's my sweet spot, but I can totally get why everyone won't be as smitten.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
  8. soundblast75
    You could always try it and return if possible, I'm still potentially thinking i might, but it is good you know, problem is,soon there'll be better and you would have spent 1k.
    Even if you dont EQ, it is quality, but it wasn't tuned the way we're used to lately. You still get DD working, but it is flat, once you eq, it responds brilliantly and you can't go back
    warriorpoet likes this.
  9. jsmiller58
    This is really cool stuff, and I am going to have to study it closely and rethink any misconceptions I have about the S8F and the Roland.

    On the curves, a couple of observations... 1. I have always read that you should ignore any measurement above 10K. 2. The bump at 200Hz seems to be there in most of of Crinnacle’s measurements (at least those IEMs I have been interested enough at looking at) sometimes being more pronounced, sometimes less, so I generally ignore that result. I wonder what that’s about? 3. I don’t really gravitate towards Crinnacle’s preferred target response curve...

    THANK YOU for all the effort and time to put this together!
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
  10. warriorpoet
    My pleasure!

    My casual listening target is pretty close to the Rtings FR. Crin has helpfully posted that on his comparison site, and it's right around 90% on my favorite casual listening IEM- the Tanchjim Oxygen. Here's how that compares to the S8 Freedom.
    graph (34).png

    And here's how it compares to my cobbled-together pseudo-Roland (blue up to ~700k, yellow after).
    graph (35).png

    You can probably see why I like Roland so much :wink:
  11. twiceboss
    True, a misconception here. S8F is a non-harman iem. It's just a DF with boosted bass till midbass.
    Owludio likes this.
  12. warriorpoet
    For #2, that means you enjoy a boosted midbass. You'll also note the cut from ~600-2k Hz.

    Even Crin doesn't enjoy his neutral chart, as such. It's merely representative of his perception of "true neutral" in an IEM. I tend to prefer true neutral, so it isn't too surprising I like the Roland :)
    Owludio likes this.
  13. jsmiller58
  14. jsmiller58
    Got it. Again, very helpful as was the observations of @soundblast75 ... I think the Roland won’t be for me, but I am glad it brings happiness to others!

    Also appreciate the remedial education on terms and the interpretation of curves :)
    Owludio, soundblast75 and warriorpoet like this.
  15. warriorpoet
    Oh mercy, feel free to help me out, too! I'm learning along the way, and if I can help one other person grab something I've barely grasped myself, it's a win all around!

    I hope you find your "best next," though I suspect that might have already been ordered, or, should I say, pre-ordered? :D
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