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flinkenick's 17 Flagship IEM Shootout Thread (and general high-end portable audio discussion)

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  1. Sound Eq
    well I bet that it will
     
  2. ranfan
    I think you guys are forgetting the underdogs, KLM earpads, Non-stop crying baby, and Elegant pig fart. One of them could take #1 spot right out of Beer IEM's cap :)
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
    Wyville and flinkenick like this.
  3. jmills8
    The best of the best.

    LL-25.jpeg
     
  4. proedros
    well yeah k10 is very popular here no question about it - but popular does not mean better/best , you know that right ? i want you to be a smart and non-biased (there goes that word again) head-fier

    for instance, U2 sell way more albums than say King Crimson or Porcupine Tree (google them) but KC/PT eat U2 for breakfast - like i said popular does not mean better/best - it just means more accessible to people :D

    so when Nic who a)has heard a shitload ot TOTL (c)iems and b) is not sponsored by any company says that ciem A is no1 , ciem B is no2 etc - that makes more sense and has more value to me than someone who has only heard say 2 TOTL ciems in his entire life

    hell , when i got K3003 i thought it was the best thing on life and then i realized it's good but there are better iems out there

    and now let's wait for the remaining 11 TOTL ciems to appear
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
    flinkenick likes this.
  5. Rei87
    I think that it has to be more than just 'hearing' the iem, or item for that matter, but also OWNING it as well.

    Lots of ppl here tend to dismiss products that they do not own, which is also reflective of a confirmation bias. No way would one wish to admit that one has a product that is inferior to another (within a reasonable product price and targeted performance tier).

    That said, I am in full agreement that popularity equating to better/best is a fallacy. I personally view better/best as an iem's technical ability to retrieve details, since that is a quality that is separate from one's subjective preference. In that, I can fairly say, without hesitation, that the k10 isnt the most resolving of IEMS, and for that aspect, to me, it is hardly worthy of taking the 'better/best' spot. Citing ranking of popularity, is the same as comparing works of literary arts to whatever happens to top the current best sellers list. Or even the recent Lala land and Moonlight oscar fiasco. LaLa land is exceeds Moonlight in popularity on any measures, but it simply pales in comparison to the complexity of the story that Moonlight wove.

    So, yes, a product can be extremely popular, but its quality is a separate issue and suspect as well.

    yes, the k10 is an immensely fun IEM to listen to. But only when I will usually only choose it when i have songs that are horribly mastered and I need an iem that just fails to resolve/masks away those details. For anything else, I would choose to carry out stuff likie the Zeus, A18, Jomo flamenco, dita dream and so on. In addition, those choices are also predicated upon which players I intend to use, since some are more power hungry than others.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  6. omastic
    The single BA Warber Prelude is raking up a lot of interest from my side. Jelt's full length review as well as the short comparison vs Katana in Nic's review are quite positive. Hell, this single driver has already beaten several well regarded multi armature setups in this shoot-out alone and I suspect same will be the case in Jelt's roundup. Eagerly looking forward to hearing this special IEM someday.
     
    ranfan likes this.
  7. jmills8
    1 , one, uno BA ? YIKES.
     
    EagleWings likes this.
  8. ranfan
    That's more inconvenent than any headphone I've ever seen. I mean, technically it's in-ear (with a cloth hanger)..

    Told ya something's not right with it. I'm suspecting the driver is injected with some sort of steroid (called trial-and-error) - lots of it..
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  9. Sleepow
    I am really happy with the Dream for metal, classical and opera.
    It has a strong bass, but I do not feel that it really darkens the tone.

    In tone, for me, it is not that different than the ER4XR, albeit without a few layers of veil and more resolving (out of the Sony 1Z using comply foam)
     
  10. proedros
    ranfan likes this.
  11. subguy812
    My Dream arrives today..I will be interested to hear it against my XRA.
     
    ranfan likes this.
  12. ranfan
    I can only hope mine gets 4 out of 4 correct..
    Interesting. +1
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  13. bahaja
    Thank you Nic for writing such an extensive and objective shootout! I hardly try IEMs (or any other gears) and i found this as a great resource to find which IEMs would be suitable for each individual.

    I've just finished reading the 8.2 and katana reviews as those are the only ones in this shootout that I've tried before. I agree that the 8.2 is more natural while the katana is more neutral sounding, but i'm confused why you described that versatility is 8.2's weakness while it is one of katana's strength. Wouldn't a natural sound handle a lot of genres better than a neutral sound ?
     
    ranfan likes this.
  14. bobeau
    For its time, the K10 did have an ascent due to the notion of it being the initial best of the 10+ driver IEMs. At least that's how I recall it - it came out just before the JH Roxanne did, and I don't think the community at large was really looking in Noble's direction for something upper tier like that. The Roxanne became huge due to the volume of pre-sales and delays, but both it and the Mentor ended up being underwhelming I think for what people consider upper tier, whereas the K10 seemed to surpass expectations. I went to CanJam SoCal shortly after I received my Roxanne customs and was surprised to find I did prefer the K10. That said, I also preferred the JH13 to it as well. So the K10 was clearly a breakout star in that relatively uncrowded field, which I think further helped solidify Noble's position when they came out w/ a universal a year later that wasn't ginormous.

    That said, there's been alot of entrants to this market since its unveil some 3.5+ years ago, including their own newer co-flagships. I'm surprised to see the Katana this low from what I've read about it, but... as its been said, there are alot of really good $$ IEMs out there now. I recall the time when the UE10 ruled this forum for like 5 years lol.
     
    flinkenick likes this.
  15. flinkenick
    Thanks bahaja.

    When we look a wide range of music like pop, electronic, classical, easy-listening, rock and metal, we can see that each type of music has its own properties. For instance, modern pop and electronic music, but also R&B and Hip Hop, relies on synthetic melodies in the upper midrange and lower treble. For them to shine, a lift in the lower or mid treble can give the upper midrange a brighter and more exciting tone. However, for more contemporary band based music like rock or easy listening, a warmer and midcentric signature might suit better. Classical music on the other hand relies on a various instruments that use the full frequency range.

    The 8.2 has a warm tonality resulting from its enhanced bass and laidback treble. When paired with a neutral to warm player like my AK, the warmth of the tone becomes prominent, especially since the AK's treble is linear and not enhanced for extra clarity like some players. With a brighter player like the LPG that gives a boost to the mid/upper treble around 9-10 Khz, the 8.2 is more balanced and closer to neutral. So, when paired with the AK, the 8.2 tends to work best for vocals or contemporary band-based music that relies on the midrage (acoustic guitars, or electric guitars but not the fast, higher pitched type used in metal). And while its upper midrange is fairly natural and accurate in tone for most instruments, it's less suitable for synthetic melodies. In addition, it's treble is a bit too laidback for string instruments as violins, so for classical it might not be the best option.

    Katana has a neutral tuning. Even though it isn't overly warm, it isn't analytical or bright either. As a result of its lifted treble, it will work better for classical instruments as violions, and synthetic melodies. Even though it isn't overly warm, I like the size and forwardness of the vocals. So it also works well for vocal-based music like easy-listening. It might not be as natural-sounding as other iems, but this is all relative. It will still sound more than fine. Of course, others might have a different view of versatility based on which genres they listen to, and like I said the pairing plays a role. Hope this is more clear.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
    Wyville, bahaja and ranfan like this.
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