flinkenick's 17 Flagship IEM Shootout Thread (and general high-end portable audio discussion)
Nov 30, 2017 at 8:00 PM Post #6,437 of 39,410
Older models of TOTL IEM could still be competitive. Just like SE5U and K10U, their strengths are still very relevant to the table. As long as our love to music does not change, Older models can still be very enjoyable. At some point, someone should make a shootout that compares older generation of TOTL IEM vs a new generation TOTL. Those who are on a budge could definitely look for previous generation of Flagship / one tier below current TOTL as they provide a more reasonable price while offering great sound quality.

For the current marketing of IEM , it seems the race for cramping more BA drivers into an iem is over. We are starting a race for the highest priced. How about Tia Sixte, Four Grand?

"Buy a used car or an IEM?"

And when your wife knows what you are planning...

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Nov 30, 2017 at 10:50 PM Post #6,440 of 39,410
Fibae 3 sounds interesting (as does U10), The SE5 also sounds interesting.
So hard to decide on this stuff without being able to audition-be busy at CanJam NY as well (but have to wait until Feb, not so bad getting to December now).
Sheesh!!!
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 12:00 AM Post #6,441 of 39,410
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Dec 1, 2017 at 1:44 AM Post #6,442 of 39,410
Personally, I think the IEM industry has a lot less variety. Much less fun. On desktop gear you have great dynamic cans, great planar cans, great electrostats, open and closed designs; low and high impedance. Then you have the tube DHT SET amps, the OTL amps, the hybrid amps, the solid state amps, the guys playing with speaker amps, and that's before you get to all the different DACs (R2R, D-S, tube, solid state), the different computer streaming options (USB vs AOIP, AES vs Coaxial, etc etc. better clocks, better SSDs, better internal cables, windows 10, windows server, etc), and finally of course- power (dedicated lines, dedicated conditioners, dedicated regenerators, grounding solutions, and with receptacles and power plugs and power cables of all make, model, and gauge to boot).

A lot of this industry is also entirely in sync with the speaker guys- DACs, Sources, Power most definitely so; amps somewhat too, especially lower-powered and tube amps. That makes things a lot more interesting since there's so much more written and reviewed out there.

Maybe I'll start publishing more on these too in time to come. Diving into the deep end into all the stuff above has really opened my eyes to so much more in audio. I showed the THL guys my audio room the other days and I think they can attest to just how much I've invested into desktop stuff these days :)

Back to IEMs, after so many years, I'm still sticking by the same IEMs I liked a while back- SE5, Andro, and a few others. The improvement (not difference) I hear from swapping even one power cable in my desktop setup is frequently much more than when swapping between two "TOTL" IEMs, so much so that with IEMs I go for different flavours rather than try to chase the dragon's tail, around and around, again and again.
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 1:55 AM Post #6,443 of 39,410
Personally, I think the IEM industry has a lot less variety. Much less fun. On desktop gear you have great dynamic cans, great planar cans, great electrostats, open and closed designs; low and high impedance. Then you have the tube DHT SET amps, the OTL amps, the hybrid amps, the solid state amps, the guys playing with speaker amps, and that's before you get to all the different DACs (R2R, D-S, tube, solid state), the different computer streaming options (USB vs AOIP, AES vs Coaxial, etc etc. better clocks, better SSDs, better internal cables, windows 10, windows server, etc), and finally of course- power (dedicated lines, dedicated conditioners, dedicated regenerators, grounding solutions, and with receptacles and power plugs and power cables of all make, model, and gauge to boot).

A lot of this industry is also entirely in sync with the speaker guys- DACs, Sources, Power most definitely so; amps somewhat too, especially lower-powered and tube amps. That makes things a lot more interesting since there's so much more written and reviewed out there.

Maybe I'll start publishing more on these too in time to come. Diving into the deep end into all the stuff above has really opened my eyes to so much more in audio. I showed the THL guys my audio room the other days and I think they can attest to just how much I've invested into desktop stuff these days :)

Back to IEMs, after so many years, I'm still sticking by the same IEMs I liked a while back- SE5, Andro, and a few others. The improvement (not difference) I hear from swapping even one power cable in my desktop setup is frequently much more than when swapping between two "TOTL" IEMs, so much so that with IEMs I go for different flavours rather than try to chase the dragon's tail, around and around, again and again.

I definitely agree with your sentiments, but the reasons you stated above are why I choose not to dabble too much into desktop gear. Aside from my tendency to listen to music while pacing around, I enjoy the IEM world because it’s safer. It’s certainly not as diverse and interesting as the headphone/speaker space is, but that amount of variety and the hassle of testing sometimes - i.e. Having to bring huge amps and full-sized cans and power cords just to demo something - can be really daunting to the faint of heart. I enjoy the amount of variety in the IEM industry in terms of signatures and accessibility, even if it’s not on par with the scale of desktop stuff. But yeah, just my two cents. :)
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 2:01 AM Post #6,444 of 39,410
When I am back home, I will definitely be listening to my HE1000 and schiit stack. There are much more things to fiddle with on desktop gear. But when I am on the go, simple is a best. One DAP, one cable, a pair of earphones and I am ready to catch the train. But sometimes when the little devil in us kicks in, we are off again chasing for the best...
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 2:07 AM Post #6,445 of 39,410
When I am back home, I will definitely be listening to my HE1000 and schiit stack. There are much more things to fiddle with on desktop gear. But when I am on the go, simple is a best. One DAP, one cable, a pair of earphones and I am ready to catch the train. But sometimes when the little devil in us kicks in, we are off again chasing for the best...

Yup, the devil keeps kicking in for me, so 'safe' is not quite what I'm looking for. :p
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 2:42 AM Post #6,446 of 39,410
Yup, the devil keeps kicking in for me, so 'safe' is not quite what I'm looking for. :p
Quite an understatement. I'd say you're playing with fire after having doused yourself in gasoline. There are so many elements there, even down to things like speaker stands, room acoustics, etc. My OCD would kick in, have a fit and run away screaming. :D But I do get the attraction. A friend of mine showed me his Harbeth speakers setup. :hushed:

I am still the same as @Deezel177. I looked into getting something as simple as the HD650 and ended up spending days pouring over portable amps, desktop amps, tube amps, and it kinda escalated from a cheap FiiO amp, to Hugo 2 to Schiit stacks to... Best leave that for the time being. :D
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 3:15 AM Post #6,447 of 39,410
Quite an understatement. I'd say you're playing with fire after having doused yourself in gasoline. There are so many elements there, even down to things like speaker stands, room acoustics, etc. My OCD would kick in, have a fit and run away screaming. :D But I do get the attraction. A friend of mine showed me his Harbeth speakers setup. :hushed:

I am still the same as @Deezel177. I looked into getting something as simple as the HD650 and ended up spending days pouring over portable amps, desktop amps, tube amps, and it kinda escalated from a cheap FiiO amp, to Hugo 2 to Schiit stacks to... Best leave that for the time being. :D

I'm only into headphones not speakers because of a lack of space.

Anyway for your sake, I hope your story ends with the word "tubes".
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 3:18 AM Post #6,448 of 39,410
When I am back home, I will definitely be listening to my HE1000 and schiit stack. There are much more things to fiddle with on desktop gear. But when I am on the go, simple is a best. One DAP, one cable, a pair of earphones and I am ready to catch the train. But sometimes when the little devil in us kicks in, we are off again chasing for the best...

I see you live in Tokyo. Lucky. They are really pricy outside of Japan, but I love my Airtight and Almarro amps. Sell the Schiit amp (you can keep the DAC), hunt down a Japanese tube amp equipped with Japanese output trafos, and hook up your HE1000 via an adaptor.

Bliss.
 
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Dec 1, 2017 at 3:39 AM Post #6,449 of 39,410
I'm only into headphones not speakers because of a lack of space.
Ah, okay. I thought it also included speakers.
Anyway for your sake, I hope your story ends with the word "tubes".
Looked at a few tube amps, but was scared off by the idea to "tube rolling". I did quite like the idea of the ALO Continental v5 as a sort of halfway solution to keep things portable (I move around a lot, even when I am working behind my desk).
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 4:34 AM Post #6,450 of 39,410
Ah, okay. I thought it also included speakers.

Looked at a few tube amps, but was scared off by the idea to "tube rolling". I did quite like the idea of the ALO Continental v5 as a sort of halfway solution to keep things portable (I move around a lot, even when I am working behind my desk).
Do you also feel the OCD when listening with certain types of headphone padding? Or annoyed with other things?
 

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