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

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I just ordered the Anole VX, so I hope I like it. I get a good sense from reading comments, reviews, and taking a look at Crinacle’s graphs that I will be happy with this purchase. I’ll report back after I receive it.
 
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davidcotton

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Cosmic Ears in the uk will have 15% across the entire range from friday through monday according to their facebook page.
 
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tawmizzzz

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Condensed impressions on the Rhapsodio Sagga. Full impressions shared on Rhapsodio thread for those who avoid TL;DRs :).

Source: Stock or Socrates cable + R8/MAX + MQA Tidal streaming + CP155 eartips. Requires a relatively powerful DAP, sounded best from MAX and not great from DX160.


IMG_0411 (1).jpg

Sound:

Bass: The bass is definitely the most intriguing part of the IEM. It digs deep with a slight focus on mid-bass over sub-bass. It does detract a bit from the mids but is very well controlled. It is tight and punchy. The magnetostatic driver seems to provide a quicker decay than most dynamic drivers. It also does seem to move more “air” than the typical balanced armature, but you likely will not get the speaker/sub-woofer kind of boom akin to a standard dynamic driver.

While it does not fully replicate a DD in terms of realism and rumble, I do feel it fits somewhere comfortably between a well implemented BA and DD. In Bjork’s “Hunter”, it shreds through the sub-bass and thumps from left and right with ease, portraying the various densities and speed in the sounds. Its’ ability to handle fast basslines/double-bass is impressive.

Mids: This is where things get a bit wonky and ultimately fell short for me. I am a fiend for texture and as detailed as the mids can be, they felt slightly recessed to me. Occasionally they can come across as a bit crisp or metallic. Metallic to me does not necessarily mean thin or sharp, but rather lacking that warmth that helps with instrument texture and naturalness. Granted, overnight burn-ins did help subdue the crispness quite a bit. For reference, I put about 40-50 hours of burn-in before these impressions

Otherwise, instruments are generally airy and hold their staging on the axis well. Based off both MAX and R8, I would actually describe the IEM as slightly cold/bright with definite strong bass emphasis. Female vocals do sound very good – more sensual than male, which seem to be pushed back in the mix.

Treble: The lower treble is well extended, with occasional sparkle (although personally not enough sparkle for me). The transients come across more crisp than warm/smooth. You can pinpoint the cymbal hits quite well on the vast stage of Saggas, although they do not come across as particularly organic. There is strong upper treble air to help avoid congestion. With some overnight burn-in, the crispness/brightness has dwindled down bass becoming prominent in the signature.

Staging & Details: Sagga’s bread and butter (along with the bass) seems to be the overall staging. It comes across as almost 3-D like, with strong layering (not Odin levels but close). Odin for example has more of that surgical precision ability that makes it easier to pinpoint imaging. For Sagga, notes do fly around your head, mostly from left to right and depth (but not on Infinity’s level, particularly on height). The detail is top notch as well, I would say around the Elysium ability for microdetail.

Conclusion:
In short, Sammy has created another unique IEM. I am curious how the magnetostatic drivers plays out over time (i.e., Sagga, Bomber, and Supreme MKII). Sagga’s bass is fun and unique, with overall strong technicalities which compete with similar priced IEMs (as long as it suits your signature preferences). From my sources and for my preferences, it does fall quite short on overall texture and realism for the mids + treble.

However, it would be interesting to play with some tube sources and higher quality silver/gold cables to test out other synergies.
 

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Frankie D

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Form over function eh. Interesting.
Not really. For a $100.00, if it sounded the best I would gladly own it. At the stratospheric prices being charged for TOTL’s they should look good as well. The look, feel, ergonomics, fit are all part of the experience.
 
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davidmolliere

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A better shot of my latest custom, those shells are tough to do justice to especially with a smartphone... but let me try!


IMG_1474.JPG


I spent quite a bit of time with them yesterday, this is a fun review for sure!

The Volt are open sounding and very resolving with superb clarity and transparency thanks to superb treble extension. Imaging stands out as well. Add punchy bass and full sounding mids along with a smooth delivery out of the R8 and I can already say it’s a very engaging IEM.

From most impressions of the universal published so far I suspect the custom is punchier and with more clarity... then again the fit is the deepest of all my customs and I have a few. I’ll take further pics but there are 3 bores with a deep horn bore design. I suspect this plays a role into how the superb soundstage is projected vs the universal as well.

Last but not least Volt needs power first time I switched the Hiby R8 to medium (and even high on some albums) gain in Turbo mode with an IEM. I suspect it will scale well with amps.

Definitely very strong value for money, there are commonalities with ItsFit Lab Fusion and I will obviously write up an in depth comparison.
 
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Wyville

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mvvRAZ

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Wyville

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Suuuper tempted. The fit is the only potential downside - I've heard the XLS is a shallow insertion

Correction: I've had a few friends who owned the XLS and couldn't make it sit in their ears no matter what tips they tried :D
Yeah, the XLS have quite a shallow fit, but I personally don't have too many issues with that. I guess 'YMMV' is appropriate here. :wink:
 
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mvvRAZ

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Yeah, the XLS have quite a shallow fit, but I personally don't have too many issues with that. I guess 'YMMV' is appropriate here. :wink:
Welll I could always find out for myself :D Especially if the Diana V2 ever sells lol, I really took a bath on that one
 
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Wyville

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Welll I could always find out for myself :D Especially if the Diana V2 ever sells lol, I really took a bath on that one
Surely someone will want a low milage Diana V2 for that price! I guess Black Friday might be keeping people distracted. :wink:
 
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twister6

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Welll I could always find out for myself :D Especially if the Diana V2 ever sells lol, I really took a bath on that one
That's where the grippy rubber of Azla Xelastec eartips comes in handy, not just a great seal and a comfy fit, but also keeping even shallow insertion IEMs secure in your ears.
 
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Welll I could always find out for myself :D Especially if the Diana V2 ever sells lol, I really took a bath on that one
The HE-R10P looks interesting :wink: (all controversies aside)
 
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mvvRAZ

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normie610

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Hifiman? Way too much of a Sony ripoff imo and I hate the design
Ah, I thought you‘re curious about it since I saw you signed up for the loaner tour
 
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