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

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  1. Deezel177
    Except, I'll do the exact opposite; review a universal IEM and two cables, then give away 17 TOTL custom IEMs! :D
    sansfin, ranfan and Ike1985 like this.
  2. ezekiel77
    Read your review and loved it, made me wish I can listen to it again. It evoked a much simpler time in IEMs, when flagships had 12 drivers and there was only one type of Zeus lol. I remember auditioning the Aether right after Zeus with my favourite tracks. A massive mid-head at the time, with Zeus I was like "no, too thick, far too thick", and then with Aether I was like "no, no, too thin". I wasn't listening to stuff like resolution, imaging, soundstage, and tonal accuracy... just the damn mids. With all that I've learnt and listened to in the past two years (and the help of this thread, no doubt), my impressions of these two might be far different.
    flinkenick and Deezel177 like this.
  3. Deezel177
    Thank you! I completely understand where you're coming from, man. Back when I auditioned the Aether, the only super-outstanding TOTL out there was the original K10. I mainly chose to write about the Aether - not just due to sentimental value and how intimately I know the IEM - but also because it represents a less is more philosophy that often gets lost in the face of driver wars. And, that philosophy lives on in the Model X, Custom Art's FIBAE line, the Prelude, the Lola etc. It keeps the hobby fresh and exciting, and it's the kind of movement I absolutely love to see.
    PinkyPowers likes this.
  4. Fiberoptix
    This is the same problem I have except I wake up pretty much every morning with my left ear hearing dulled because of barotrauma which gradually releases during the day. I think my issue is due to a deviated septum causing excess mucus production which is causing ETD. Been to the docs about it but they are little help. I basically have permanent tinnitus in my left ear because of this.

    I use CIEM's / IEM's daily too and find anything non-vented to inflame the issue. I'm thinking of converting to over-ears for use at work and have some Audeze Sine which should be arriving soon. I still want to try ADEL to see if it makes any difference but I just don't see how it's any different to a vented DD Iem in releasing pressure. Air just needs somewhere to go when the pressure changes. The only differnce I see with ADEL is that it is venting which is designed for Balanced Armatures because putting a direct air pathway in a BA implementation would considerably affect lower frequencies so the ADEL second ear drum is a way of controlling that change whilst still maintaining the integrity of the tuning.
  5. Wyville
    Yeah, I often have that dulled sense in the morning as well. It is a bit annoying, but I seem to have it under control now that I use IEMs a bit less (still 4 to 5 hours a day).

    You should give ADEL or APEX a try if you can, it was really quite pleasant when I was using the U6 and felt like it gave a lot better pressure relief than a vented DD. I believe ADEL provides more relief than APEX, at least based on the level of isolation they provide, and it does affect the lower frequencies. My guess is that IEMs like the EE Athena are best suited to ADEL because they have plenty of mid-bass, but I have yet to hear them.
  6. Fiberoptix
    ALO Ref 8 would work and is well priced. Also, if they are still available the Rhapsodio Silver Litz which was on sale for a while, it provides a more analytical window compared to a stock cable and a cleaner and tighter presentation on everything I've tried it on and increases sound stage width/height from a stock cable, it's just a bit stiff for everyday use. I did put mine up for sale for a bit but then recently listened again and decided it was too good to let go of.
    Blommen likes this.
  7. Fiberoptix
    Wyville - what did you think of the Kumitate Lakh? Apparently this has a proprietary pressure relief system embedded too. I tried all the KL iems except the Lakh at indulgence.
  8. Wyville
    Really? I had no idea! But then all the brochures were in Japanese. I did not notice any pressure relief, which with the U6 was quite obvious. (They were also almost the last I demoed, so my ears were already getting a bit sore anyway.)

    From what I remember I felt the Lakh worked quite well for violins because they were a bit brighter. I generally don't like brighter, but I think it were the Lakh that seemed to do it quite well, although I did miss the warmth I was so used to in vocals such as Caro Emerald. Where I would have bought the UE18+ based on just that short demo, the Lakh felt like I needed a much longer demo with them, perhaps because they deviated quite far from the sound I am used to.

    Very pretty though, the guy is a real artist! At one point I caught Gisele drooling over them as well (she had her booth quite close), I think she really loved the Cherry Blossom design. :D
    EagleWings likes this.
  9. Deezel177
    Their Cherry Blossom design is inspired by Japanese Urushi art; essentially, flakes of metal/foil floating in lacquer. I've seen them up close and it's breathtaking stuff! The funny thing is, the guy behind Kumitate actually got his start in the DIY community; really shows how far you can go with a little bit of hard work and determination. :wink:
    Wyville likes this.
  10. eldss
    From my personal experience, both ADEL and APEX relieve more pressure than the vented DD iems i've tried. Personally, I found that APEX sounds slightly better, but ADEL might be better for people who suffer from tinnitus from what I've read, but when it comes to pressure relief, I found that both do a very good job and it's perhaps the first and most noticeable thing people note when wearing those types of IEMs.
    Wyville likes this.
  11. tkteo
    That was just coincidence on my part lol.
    Wyville likes this.
  12. eldss
    Are you planning on reviewing the Model X anytime soon? From the only review I've come across, it sounds like something I would like and just like the Aether which I really enjoyed, I seems that both IEMs punch above their price range which like you said, we really need in this hobby. Would be nice to read a more detailed review comparing both the X and Aether. Would have been good for Lime Ears to have given a couple review samples to reviewers who actually own both to compare them both to take advantage of introductory pricing and new launch. Nice review by the way, and have also been enjoying your insight on this thread over the past few months. I'll also mention @EagleWings as another community member whose point of view I can always appreciate and respect.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
    Deezel177 and EagleWings like this.
  13. Wyville
    Yes, really impressive! He had a whole selection of his designs displayed. I had a brief (and due to the language barrier slightly difficult) chat with him and apparently the company is still only three people. I think it was also his first visit to Europe (or the UK), so it was very nice to see that!
    Deezel177 likes this.
  14. Fiberoptix
    I really need to demo these somehow. Maybe I'll try pickup a 2nd hand pair of U3 as a tester to see what it's all about. I definitely want to go for ADEL rather than APEX though.
  15. Deezel177
    Thanks man! I agree; Vishnu is a class act, and he was one of the first who actually gave me the confidence to start writing impressions and reviews. As far as a Model X review goes, I'm absolutely game. All I'm waiting for is a reply from @He Is Emil, and I should have an update as soon as I get word. :)
    AC-12, EagleWings and eldss like this.
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