Fuel my Upgraditis - Recommendations? IE7 -> UM3X?
Oct 9, 2009 at 7:11 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 22

the_dong146

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Hi guys, it's been a while since I was on Head-fi, but after surviving a recent round of midterms, I think it's time a for a nice, new treat (possibly).

I am considering purchasing a new pair of IEMs - you can see my current collection/past experience below in my sig.

My main, IEMs, really the only ones that I am still using are the IE7s, which I definitely enjoy, however I am now wondering if there's something I would enjoy even more out there. In terms of criticisms, I have always been, if not bothered, aware that the IE7s are not the most detailed IEMs out there, and I certainly would not mind something a little clearer/even punchier. Could use sweeter mids, and well, more isolation would certainly not hurt. Do love the soundstage, but willing to lose some for more detail

In terms of budget - looking simply to eliminate/consolidate my IEMs into a (hopefully) more awesome one. So, selling of all three if needed, figure SCL4/X10/IE7 -> (100+160+120) = call it $350 budget (I know that doesn't add up). As always, lower is much, much better. Also considering selling the AD700s but who knows.

So what I'm looking for in terms of sound sig. A balanced headphone. I do really like my mids, smooth and well defined, maybe slightly forward. In terms of bass good extension, and nice and punchy, definitely not looking for something bass light either. Highs, less concerned with, but again, looking for balance, and as my trial of the PFEs taught me, they can definitely help.

Music tastes: Pretty much rock: Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Led Zeppelin, Black Keys, Muse etc.

I have been considering the SE530s for some time, though the treble roll off does concern me a little bit. I am unfamiliar with the other options from other companies (hear things about UM3X?) - but that's where you guys come in. Thanks in advance!

Edit: I should also mention that I suppose there is the option of just sitting on/keeping the IE7s if the upgrade isn't worth it
 
Oct 9, 2009 at 7:56 PM Post #2 of 22

The_Blood_Raven

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Muse rocks! Nice taste!

Anyway, the Sennheiser IE8s might be a good, and obvious, choice if you love the IE7s so much. Also the Westone UM3x might be good if you like the detail and clarity, with slightly forward mids. You may also want to try the Klipsch Image X10s, which I've tried, they have great and slightly forward mids (possible the best mids that I have heard in an IEM), but the treble is a bit weak for me. If you want a major amount of fun in your music and are open to try something very much different than what you have in the past, the JVC/Victor HP-FX500s are blowing my mind away right now. They have the best bass in an IEM I've heard, ever, with great though possibly harsh highs, and a very detail though slightly recessed midrange, though they are very clear and are insanely "punchy". To be honest, the FX500s are just plain unique. The SE530s are very much not my taste, far too warm, but you may like them if you only care about the mid range.

Hope that helps.
 
Oct 9, 2009 at 10:03 PM Post #4 of 22

the_dong146

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@ Blood Raven - from what I've heard, the IE8s are simply way too bassy for my taste. Again - definitely considering the UM3Xs, and as for the X10s (in my sig) - I've found them a little too bassy again (though it is awesome bass) - certainly great EQed, but too microphonic for portable use. Will consider the other options as well.

@mark - I seem to remember you being a big proponent of the IE7s - any further insights as to how the 530s are similar, but just a bit better

So far leaning towards UM3Xs based on some reading I've been doing. Seem to have slightly more bass than the 530s, with less rolled off treble. That said, I really enjoyed my SCL4s back in the day, and I do hear the 530s have that lush mid-range and accurate, extended bass I'm looking for.
 
Oct 10, 2009 at 12:27 AM Post #5 of 22

The_Blood_Raven

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Yeah I read that about the IE8s too, but they are supposed to calm down a lot with burn in and the bass is supposed to tighten up immensely. Sorry, missed the X10s. From what you have said the Westones look like the best solution, the 530s tend to have a very bland sound to me with weak highs and average lows that I admit do go low.
 
Oct 10, 2009 at 2:34 AM Post #6 of 22

the_dong146

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Hmm - guess I'll keep the IE8s in mind, but I don't think they're what I'm looking for (more isolation definitely being a plus). So far looks like the UM3Xs are tempting me - a more toned down, analytical version of the W3s or just UM3s correct?
 
Oct 10, 2009 at 8:12 AM Post #8 of 22
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Quote:

Originally Posted by the_dong146 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
@ Blood Raven - from what I've heard, the IE8s are simply way too bassy for my taste. Again - definitely considering the UM3Xs, and as for the X10s (in my sig) - I've found them a little too bassy again (though it is awesome bass) - certainly great EQed, but too microphonic for portable use. Will consider the other options as well.

@mark - I seem to remember you being a big proponent of the IE7s - any further insights as to how the 530s are similar, but just a bit better

So far leaning towards UM3Xs based on some reading I've been doing. Seem to have slightly more bass than the 530s, with less rolled off treble. That said, I really enjoyed my SCL4s back in the day, and I do hear the 530s have that lush mid-range and accurate, extended bass I'm looking for.



the 530 share the same sound sig. forward mids, a big dolop of bass and the highs pushed a little in the back ground. the 530 just do every thing on a higher level the the IE7. much more detail on everything and super lush mids but the overall sound is similar just you will hear things with the 530 you couldnt with the 7.

the um3 is on paper maybe what you want but its so source dependant as to what it sounds like ranging from super forward mids to slightly recessed mids. i say take all its ridiculous hype with a big pinch of salt
 
Oct 10, 2009 at 2:01 PM Post #9 of 22

The_Blood_Raven

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Well to be honest, I have never heard the Westone's, but the extreme lack of high end on the 530s puts me off, but it might be good for you. I did not know that the IE7s have heavily recessed highs. The 530s had a good amount of bass, that while not overly punchy, did go low. I would have to say that the bass was very similar to the X10s, just not quite as prominent because the seal wont be quite as good.
 
Oct 10, 2009 at 5:11 PM Post #10 of 22

mvw2

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Quote:

Originally Posted by The_Blood_Raven /img/forum/go_quote.gif
From what I understand the Westone UM3x and the 3 are almost identical, sound wise.


I think some people would heavily argue against that.


I have the UM3X and do like the earphone a lot. A couple notes, the bass on it is a little accentuated, so the presentation is slightly warm. Mids and highs are well balanced, but bass does tend to overshadow them. The stock foam tip makes things worse sucking out more of the highs and makes the top end kind of funny sounding. Switch to a tip that doesn't suck up the highs, and the upper end improves a lot. Shure foams are my fav (Olives). They're closed cell, so they don't soak up the highs but remain very comfortable. I do EQ my UM3X. To flatten out the response, you should do a wide EQ bump at 4kHz. For example my EQing:
2kHz: +4dB
4kHz: +8dB
8kHz: +2dB
16kHz: +6dB
If you're coming from the PFE using gray filters, this will make it sound more even and balanced, more like the PFE +gray or an Etymotic ER4 with extended bass. If you were a fan of the black filters, no EQing will probably sound about right. The UM3X has a lot of the dynamic range and energy you get in the PFE but with more body in note and less razor sharp articulation.

I think the UM3X will do a lot of what you want the earphone to do. The W3 may be an alternative as it is designed a little differently and will give you another option. Frequency response is different. I think they even use different drivers in it from what people have commented. They apparently have more bass and more highs and with better articulation of note. The UM3X is apparently better balanced out of the box. I wish I could say for certain, but I haven't listened to a pair myself. There are couple comparison threads though that you may want to read through.

Audio Technica's CK100 is another choice if you're looking for midrange and top end. They are apparently one of the better options if you like top end, sparkle, and an open, airy sound. Bass is good but said to not be as robust as some of the other IEM options. It's an IEM I'd like to listen to eventually myself.

The IE8 is an obvious choice. If you've got a sweet tooth for Sennheiser, why not stick with it?

The Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10 is another option. It's balanced out of the box with a pretty much flat frequency response across the board. It has excellent articulation of note, but lacks dynamic breadth (doesn't know the meaning of subtle). The TF10's presentation is forward and up front, great stage location but little depth. Fitment is always a concern, but frankly once you get a good tip for it (stock ones suck), they fit a whole lot better. A lot of the complaints about fitment I feel have to do with not starting off with a good tip. Anyone owning these really needs to grab some Comply T-500 tips right away at the very least. The stock foams suck and the stock single flanges don't seal well leading to poor bass response and poor comfort.

The Shure SE530 is apparently the king of midrange. If that's your main focus, this is probably what you buy. It seems folks prefer other options though once you step beyond just midrange performance. It'll come down more to the frequency response you want. It is a top level IEM. Test results do show it to be very good from a functional standpoint.

Like with all these earphones, it's all a matter of what fits your tastes better, and that is tough for someone who is not you to figure out. In the end, you pretty much need to own all of them at one point or another to get a really good understanding of each.
 
Oct 10, 2009 at 5:26 PM Post #11 of 22

scrane

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mvw2 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10 is another option. It's balanced out of the box with a pretty much flat frequency response across the board. It has excellent articulation of note, but lacks dynamic breadth (doesn't know the meaning of subtle). The TF10's presentation is forward and up front, great stage location but little depth. Fitment is always a concern, but frankly once you get a good tip for it (stock ones suck), they fit a whole lot better. A lot of the complaints about fitment I feel have to do with not starting off with a good tip. Anyone owning these really needs to grab some Comply T-500 tips right away at the very least. The stock foams suck and the stock single flanges don't seal well leading to poor bass response and poor comfort.



I think you're generalizing a little too much on what tips will fit someone else's ears. The stock single flanges on the Triple.fis fit me just fine, are comfortable, tight and offer heaps of bass. I am not at all tempted to start throwing money at Complys.
Sandy.
 
Oct 10, 2009 at 8:48 PM Post #13 of 22
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Quote:

Originally Posted by The_Blood_Raven /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Well to be honest, I have never heard the Westone's, but the extreme lack of high end on the 530s puts me off, but it might be good for you. I did not know that the IE7s have heavily recessed highs. The 530s had a good amount of bass, that while not overly punchy, did go low. I would have to say that the bass was very similar to the X10s, just not quite as prominent because the seal wont be quite as good.


well neither have terribly recessed highs they just arent wildly abundant like in the IE8 W3 and triples
 
Oct 11, 2009 at 12:53 AM Post #14 of 22

the_dong146

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Hmmm - you guys are giving me a lot to think about.

Personally - I think my think the Westones sound more like the kind of sound signature I am looking for. I have found the Senns to be on the warmer side for my tastes.

I am definitely leaning towards the UM3Xs - though I am concerned that they are merely FOTM. Still strongly considering the SE530s - with a prime concern again being the highs (after the PFE....). IE8/TF10 I've decided to not really pursue (based on sound sig/fit/isolation). CK1000 I'm on the fence, as I do like my bass, just not too much. Does this look like a reputable seller? WESTONE UM3X In Ear True-Fit Earphones UM3-X UM-3X - eBay (item 230381630682 end time Oct-25-09 16:41:26 PDT)

mark - sorry to bother you again. But given that I see you have both the UM3X and the SE530 - how would they stack up in your opinion (obviously I am keeping in mind your earlier IE7 vs SE530 information).

mvw - just want to say thanks for the awesome info. Any additional comments on the UM3X?
 
Oct 11, 2009 at 2:07 AM Post #15 of 22

The_Blood_Raven

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I think the RE0 and the Sennheiser IE8 are the FOTM, but I could be wrong. I'm pretty sure Westone was FOTM a while back.
 

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