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

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  1. Mimouille
  2. pithyginger63
    Will there be Solaris customs?
  3. papa_mia
    No man, take this outta here.......

    Mimouille likes this.
  4. Deezel177
    It’s extremely unlikely. The only customs they’ve made are the Equinox and those are in limited order as they are.
    pithyginger63 likes this.
  5. pithyginger63
    I started eqing stuff finally. I noticed that when I raised stuff too much, I can start hearing a buzzing or rattling noise. Is this like "meeting a limit" too how much you can change the frequency response of a driver?
  6. Deezel177
    It’s either distortion or noise that’s inherently baked into a recording, esp. older ones. But, the former is highly more likely.
    pithyginger63 likes this.
  7. Kerouac
    During the past weeks I had (and still have) 3 interesting loaners over at my house, thanks to Nic (and @Wyville for forwarding them to me). The following is just a basic impressions trilogy of those loaners. As they were the only items that I listened to during that period, it felt as if there was some kinda connection between the three, while logically there wasn’t any, besides that they’re expensive items on a loan. Anyway, here we go...

    1) EarSonics Grace: The ‘French’ connection
    01 - ES Grace.jpg

    Now, there’s a movie called The French Connection (1971) with Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider. This was a raw and 'in your face' kind of movie. I would say that the EarSonics Grace, although they’re made in France, are almost the opposite of that. They have a very sophisticated and elegant (not raw at all) way of bringing you lots of detail and the soundstage is impressive. A beautiful and gracefull (name well chosen) signature indeed.

    Just before I got them I read some reviews on them, so it wasn’t a total surprise that they sounded good. The part about the Spiral Dot (usually my favorites with universals) tips written by @subguy812 immediately worked in a 'Don’t push the red button' kind of way for me...
    ...and of course they got stuck in my ears on both sides when I removed the Grace. But luckily after 3 hours of intense surgery everything was allright again. I also (tried and) had to agree on the cable part. I’m aware that the Grace was tuned with the stock cable in mind, but I couldn’t help prefering it with an aftermarket cable like the Ares II over the stock cable myself too.

    2) Empire Ears Legend X: The ‘Sweet Holy Mother of Bass’ connection
    02 - EE Legend X.jpg

    The Legend X was one of the few IEMs that I was still curious about over the last year. And I was even a bit afraid that when I should get that chance I might like them over my Phantom.

    When I first listened to the Legend X it was with the Effect Audio Horus cable and I was very impressed (understatement) from the start. Especially the (gotta love that DD) bass and soundstage immediately stood out, but that was no surprise as I also read quite some positive impressions/reviews over the last year on this one. It sounded extremely good, dynamic and holographic to my ears and I think that Zeus XR + Legend X + Phantom could be a 'close to perfection' IEM trilogy collection. Not much left to wish for with those 3 signatures in tha house, except a good source to do them justice of course. Quality wise they're not that far apart imo, but they surely do have different strengths and therefor I can also totally understand why one might prefer one of them above the others. Imo they all 3 already have a well deserved legendary status.

    3) Effect Audio Horus: The ‘Golden Touch’ connection
    03 - EA Horus.jpg

    Yes, I’m a cable believer and I’m aware that many of you out there are not. But my ears and brain are able to convince me (which is enough for me) that I can hear differences in sound signature / quality when I switch from one cable to another.

    When I switched the EA Horus after a few days from the Legend X to the Phantom it totally hit the 'Sweet Spot' for me. I just couldn't get myself to switch back to another cable after that. I already liked the Phantom a lot with the Ares II 8 wire over the past months, but with the Horus the clarity, resolution and imaging improved in a way that I found hard to categorize as 'fine tuning'. The Phantom clearly scaled up to my ears and that was not something that made me 100% happy, as I also realised at the same time that there is no way that I can talk myself into spending another $1600 on a cable right now. So, I will enjoy this combination while I can and will try to convince myself that it was just a sweet (spot) dream once it has gone back to its original owner.

    Untill now I considered the Zeus XR (switch mainly on R) + PW1960 2 wire from the RW AK380 Cu as my best (at least in a technical way) sounding synergy combination.
    But now the Phantom + EA Horus from the LPG probably has surpassed that synergy wise and conquered that personal #1 spot.
    04 - LPG + Phantom + Horus.jpg
    Solid gold to my ears!!!

    Btw, none of the above Christmass tree decoration items was hurt during the above smartphone photoshoot.
    Thanks for reading and best 2019 (audio) wishes to all of you out there!
  8. pithyginger63
    I just had a strange idea.

    People who argue that cables don't do anything always point to expensive cables that don't change the sound.
    I understand why someone might want to believe that expensive cables don't improve the sound; cable prices are getting ridiculous these days.
    What if instead, they looked at how cheap cables affect the sound instead? I experienced this first hand with an ass-sounding cable recently.
    If we present a cable skeptic with a terrible sounding cable, will they begin to believe that cables do make a difference?
  9. twister6 Contributor
    In my personal experience, a lot of the cable skeptics I came across never really tested or compared the cable, or some who did - have never done a proper a/b comparison using the same audio source, the same audio file, the same pair of iems, and properly matched volume. Also, with expensive flagship cables, there is always unrealistic expectation of $1k cable making the sound "$1k" better without realizing diminishing returns of a small marginal improvement. Furthermore, people do hear the improvement over a cheap stock ofc cable, but have a hard time justifying a price difference going from one aftermarket cable to another without realizing that price has to do with a cost of material. Nobody complaints when taking their wife or gf jewelry shopping and seeing the price difference of silver vs gold vs platinum necklaces :D
    ezekiel77, SLC1966, KuroKitsu and 3 others like this.
  10. amature101
    Any other colour, alo always has iem with nice osund but their design .....
    pithyginger63 likes this.
  11. Mimouille
    I am on the fence on the Grace, I really like them a lot but I am not sure I need another BA.
  12. KuroKitsu
    I suspect not. To us hardcore lunatics, $150 for an Aries II might be a drop in the bucket, but for the average Joe who owns gear maybe double that price in extreme cases, they wont even have gear that would result in an audible improvment.

    Look at /r/headphones. Literally any mention of cables is garunteed downvote oblivion. "hurr dur my, my $25 ChiFi Andro knock offs are just as good as the CAs, cables dont make a difference"
  13. pithyginger63
    I have to admit, I forgot those pieces of **** existed. My lack of faith in head-fi is restored
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
    KuroKitsu likes this.
  14. KuroKitsu
    One can never have enough BAs, but then I might just be a BA fanatic.

    Curious about the shell shape and nozzle length on the Grace, are they still the same as the Velvet V2?
  15. Mimouille
    Don't know, but more of less the same nozzle as S-EM9, which is a bit short for me.
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