flinkenick's 17 Flagship IEM Shootout Thread (and general high-end portable audio discussion)
Jul 15, 2017 at 2:02 PM Post #2,629 of 37,999

subguy812

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at that point all ciems are great - comes down to sound preference and budget

all 5 are winners i guess
Agreed...but that happened long before the top 5. All in the shootout are pretty great. I still have the Dream as well as my other IEMs and marvel at the evolving sound of it each time I listen to it. Anyone viewing this thread can feel confident if buy one you are getting TOTL. Read the sound part of the reviews and find a sound signature that sounds like what you enjoy when you are listening to music, don't get blinded by science. Do I enjoy my Zeus XR more than Dream or Maestro V2? I have favorite but that isn't important. I do know the only one I want to try is the U18, love the U12.
 
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Jul 15, 2017 at 2:09 PM Post #2,630 of 37,999

Deezel177

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Warbler has come a long way...but I would be really flabbergasted when it also makes it to the top 3 :astonished:

The key word here is when; not if :wink:

Agreed...but that happened long before the top 5. All in the shootout are pretty great. I still have the Dream as well as my other IEMs and marvel at the evolving sound of it each time I listen to it. Anyone viewing this thread can feel confident if buy one you are getting TOTL. Read the sound part of the reviews and find a sound signature that sounds like what you enjoy when you are listening to music, don't get blinded by science. Do I enjoy my Zeus XR more than Dream or Maestro V2? I have favorite but that isn't important. I do know the only one I want to try is the U18, love the U12.

The U18 us quite different from the U12; it leans way more towards reference/neutral-sounding than the natural and bodied signature of the U12.
 
Jul 15, 2017 at 2:29 PM Post #2,631 of 37,999

subguy812

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The key word here is when; not if :wink:



The U18 us quite different from the U12; it leans way more towards reference/neutral-sounding than the natural and bodied signature of the U12.
I am well aware... doesn't mean I don't want to try it.
 
Jul 15, 2017 at 7:51 PM Post #2,632 of 37,999

Cagin

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Celebrated Nic's 18th birthday tonight (^^), and got to listen to his custom Warbler Prelude. Right side went straight in as if was my own ciem, right side I had to hold while twisting to get proper deal; and we'll, it is warrantied quality. Pleasing bass, not anemic at all to me. Don't expect Tia Forte bass impact, this is nice bass when called for. Bang for the buck, Zeus R on a budget sorta way. I'd be curious to hear input from piano lovers on this one.
 
Jul 16, 2017 at 12:21 AM Post #2,633 of 37,999

Sleepow

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As people said above, do not buy an earphone because of its ranking, but use the review and explanation to narrow down your search, maybe.

I just spent 90 minutes comparing the U18, Fourte, UM Mason 2 and my Dream.
I have to say that I do not understand how the Mason 2 can be considered better than the Dream, it sounds veiled to me; similar soundstage (which means amazing), maybe and I really say maybe, more natural tone, but less details.
The Fourte, I hear more treble extension than the Dream, with heavier bass, but less texture and overpowering the lower mids. There is no scenario or music genre I would listen to it over te Dream if I had both.
The U18 is for me a more serious contender. Before getting the Dream I already considered and listened to it, but decided that the Dream would be better. But it is indeed an amazing earphone for me. Trebbles are smoother yet more extended. Bass decay is faster, but the Dream bass seams more natural. Both have great texture.
The tone is similar, slightly too bright. The U18 has more details, whereas the Dream is more engaging/dynamic/energetic. It is a matter of taste at that level of near perfectionl and I cannot justify owning both.
Note that I also listened to the Lola, but not for me at all (not bright enough) and the Samba, which for me has too small a soundstage for me, but except that, is stunning : bass quality, details and energy.

Anyway, the 2 cents impressions of a newbie in high end earphones.
 
Jul 16, 2017 at 12:59 AM Post #2,634 of 37,999

Cold Train

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As people said above, do not buy an earphone because of its ranking, but use the review and explanation to narrow down your search, maybe.

I just spent 90 minutes comparing the U18, Fourte, UM Mason 2 and my Dream.
I have to say that I do not understand how the Mason 2 can be considered better than the Dream, it sounds veiled to me; similar soundstage (which means amazing), maybe and I really say maybe, more natural tone, but less details.
The Fourte, I hear more treble extension than the Dream, with heavier bass, but less texture and overpowering the lower mids. There is no scenario or music genre I would listen to it over te Dream if I had both.
The U18 is for me a more serious contender. Before getting the Dream I already considered and listened to it, but decided that the Dream would be better. But it is indeed an amazing earphone for me. Trebbles are smoother yet more extended. Bass decay is faster, but the Dream bass seams more natural. Both have great texture.
The tone is similar, slightly too bright. The U18 has more details, whereas the Dream is more engaging/dynamic/energetic. It is a matter of taste at that level of near perfectionl and I cannot justify owning both.
Note that I also listened to the Lola, but not for me at all (not bright enough) and the Samba, which for me has too small a soundstage for me, but except that, is stunning : bass quality, details and energy.

Anyway, the 2 cents impressions of a newbie in high end earphones.

Nice impressions :)

But...too many categories of iems were used, therefore a Multi BA, Single DD or Hybrid surely won't have the same sound character! In the same way as comparing iems against ciems, I don't really feel that this kind of review make sense.

However, based on performance you are right, but it will also depends on the source/amp used which is the trickiest part of the game, some iems will actually behave like headphones when it comes to pairing, you will have to hunt for the right synergy in order to release their full potential. My Dita The Answer sounds bad out of a mere smartphone or dap, but shines like a star when properly amped, same experience with my Obravo EAMT-3A which are rather difficult to pair.

It shall help, if you give us a clue about what setup you were using in your comparisons (dap/dac/amp and audio codec) and do you feel that they were performing to their best with that setup. Thanks
 
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Jul 16, 2017 at 2:33 AM Post #2,635 of 37,999

13candles

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Nice impressions :)

But...too many categories of iems were used, therefore a Multi BA, Single DD or Hybrid surely won't have the same sound character! In the same way as comparing iems against ciems, I don't really feel that this kind of review make sense.

Are you implying that Nic' s shootout doesn't make sense since there are those IEMs you mentioned??
 
Jul 16, 2017 at 3:07 AM Post #2,637 of 37,999

Deezel177

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As people said above, do not buy an earphone because of its ranking, but use the review and explanation to narrow down your search, maybe.

I just spent 90 minutes comparing the U18, Fourte, UM Mason 2 and my Dream.
I have to say that I do not understand how the Mason 2 can be considered better than the Dream, it sounds veiled to me; similar soundstage (which means amazing), maybe and I really say maybe, more natural tone, but less details.
The Fourte, I hear more treble extension than the Dream, with heavier bass, but less texture and overpowering the lower mids. There is no scenario or music genre I would listen to it over te Dream if I had both.
The U18 is for me a more serious contender. Before getting the Dream I already considered and listened to it, but decided that the Dream would be better. But it is indeed an amazing earphone for me. Trebbles are smoother yet more extended. Bass decay is faster, but the Dream bass seams more natural. Both have great texture.
The tone is similar, slightly too bright. The U18 has more details, whereas the Dream is more engaging/dynamic/energetic. It is a matter of taste at that level of near perfectionl and I cannot justify owning both.
Note that I also listened to the Lola, but not for me at all (not bright enough) and the Samba, which for me has too small a soundstage for me, but except that, is stunning : bass quality, details and energy.

Anyway, the 2 cents impressions of a newbie in high end earphones.

I get the impression that you're very much after technical performance and you're inclined towards bright signatures. I think the IEM you should consider from the shootout, then, is the Hidition NT-6. I haven't heard the Mason 2, but the IEM Nick has is the Maestro 2, which also has 12 BA drivers but is differently tuned. I think the reason why Nick ranks it higher than the Dream is its superior naturality and realism, aside from technical performance.

But, then again, not everyone is a fan of that, as experience tells us... :)
 
Jul 16, 2017 at 3:53 AM Post #2,639 of 37,999
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The 'resolution vs tone' battle is a continuous theme, and will always be divisive between listeners. Maestro V2's resolution and transparency are both not very high, but it has a good upper mid and treble timbre, plus a spacious stage with good separation. People that prefer resolution and detail might not like the Maestro, just like people that prioritise timbre might not like the Dream. Neither is 'better'. I try to take both aspects into account, but that isn't reflective of someone else's preference. Average_joe is working on an interactive table for my shootout like his own ciem chart, so you can order by resolution or stage etc. As has been said, don't take the ranks too seriously when it comes to purchasing decisions. The individual scores and especially review content are infinitely more important. Preference alone will determine how much someone likes any of these iems; not my preference, scores or ranks.

You can use the reviews either as a starting point or confirmation of other impressions, but never go off any reviewer's impressions alone, including mine. It doesn't have to do with accuracy or trustworthiness of reviewers in general, just whether the story someone is telling aligns with the way you hear things, and this is a subjective hobby. I think it's safe to say most people won't listen and judge an iem the same way I do, so by definition, they wouldn't rank these iems like I do. Like I've already said, I wouldn't even rank these iems like I've done. For instance, I would rank the NT6-pro and UE18+ Pro much higher. I'm using a format that asserts a certain 'correctness' in tuning, combining both timbre, stage and performance. But that's not the same as either 'musicality' or 'detail', and definitely not the reader's subjective interpretation of those terms. Nevertheless, I don't believe there is a better way to score because at least timbre is a relatively objective measure. Any other scoring of signature or 'musicality' is by definition subjective.

Also, on an interesting sidenote Tyll recently mentioned in the Jude vs Tyll Sony headphone discussion that the way he judges headphones is by how close they are to neutral. Neutral defined by an uncolored sound that is, or an accurate tone. I don't follow Tyll as I'm only into iems, and I don't think that type of judgement generally applies to iems; but you could say that in this case that same philosophy applies to the shootout.
 
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