Going fully Wireless IEMs. Too soon? Or are we there yet?
May 10, 2022 at 11:50 PM Post #45,241 of 46,460

productred

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TWS is limited by two things in my opinion.

One is the BT technology itself. It is a technology designed more for transmitting digital information such as keyboard and mouse and as such is not inherently good enough to transmit sound information without the use of a lossy format (losing data). The sound quality can be improved by dividing up the responsibility of the chip receiving the digital signal from managing everything. The challenge is by separating different components from the BT chip you need more electronics making the internals bigger.

This leads to and exacerbates the second issue with TWS. Everything has to be crammed into one small enclosure! This leads to less than optimal driver configuration and allows for very little if any room to let the driver have a cavity (more important with dynamic drivers). The TWS manufacturer then is reduced to using electronic processing to make up for the poor driver placement and design.

Neither of these issues will be solved by a custom shell unless its using only BA drivers and is designed to fully encased with no cavities and then all electronics would need to be placed on top of the driver configuration making it too bulky.

Having tried 2 different hybrid TWS and one hybrid (Fiio FH5) with TWS adapter (Fiio UTWS5) I can say that using an adapter gives the best possible experience sonically speaking. A good TWS adapter has enough room to allow for more electronics so the BT chip can be dedicated to only the BT processing and a separate DAC cab ben used to convert that signal into music. This combined with the IEM itself not needing to be compromised in regards to driver placement and design will give you the closest to a wired sound as possible and it is very good in my opinion.

The good news is if your existing custom IEM is either a 2 pin or COAX connected model you will be able to easily attach it to a TWS adapter allowing you to get the best of both worlds sonically speaking.

Well said, that's why the best sounding TWS are so far those designed with a dedicated air chamber for physical tuning as well as (in some cases) a metal driver enclosure - HA-FW1000t, AKG, Final siblings etc. I'd say they are acoustics-focused in their design rather then purely relying on DSP to tune a crap DD driver (or even hybrids) thrown into an ABS housing to sound like a fart cannon (that leads to many MANY TWS are distinctly V-shaped sounding with boomy mid-bass and substance-less mids, while also boosting the presence range for a "modern" signature that can't be farther away from the realm of fidelity).
 
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May 11, 2022 at 3:34 AM Post #45,242 of 46,460

james444

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You need to try a really good set of classic earbuds to see what you are missing between the type of buds you are talking about. While the fruit devices are indeed open sounding, they are still limited on the soundstage and separation compared to true earbuds (which is what the Linkbuds are) because they are still directed by a narrow opening into the ear (they are more like an open IEM than a true earbud), whereas an earbud is round, sits outside your ear, and you hear it much like you would a set of speakers. Basically Sony created a set of classic earbuds that are TWS. I honestly don't think they overengineered these at all if you understand what they were trying to achieve with these. I don't think they were trying to copy the Airpods (but just more complicated) at all, but were trying to make true classic earbuds while having TWS.

While classic earbuds are a niche thing nowadays, they are still VERY popular (and for good reason). Take some of the best open back circumaural (over-ear) headphones, and shrink them into IEM size. IEMs and even semi-in-ears cannot match that staging; though semi-in-ear buds can come much closer than IEMs can.

Also, I wouldn't trust those graphs for any open or even semi-in-ear earbuds. Those measurement rigs were set up for IEMs and depend totally on a good seal to give accurate readings. And make no mistake, most TWS that have tips on them DO indeed rely on a seal to get their full sound whether shallow insertion or deep insertion is the intent.

There is no really good solution for measuring open earbuds yet. You can do a search on this thread where there is a conversation about this very thing. The actual bass on the Linkbuds is nothing like it is shown on the graph. Granted, they will never reach Harmon levels of bass (read bass boosted), but this is the nature of open earbuds (though there are a few pairs that do VERY well, and can almost rival IEMs for quantity of bass), and until recently has also been the nature of open back headphones. :) The Linkbuds actually sound a lot like the graph for the Airpods shows. Very full mid-bass and up, with sub-bass roll-off, though it isn't void and IS there.

What makes you think that I don't have experience with classic earbuds? Actually, I've been in and out of these ever since the first Yuin PK series. And my latest acquisition has been at the recommendation of one well-known Mr. ClieOS, who wrote the following about it:
Maria has a mostly neutral sound that slightly tilting toward warmth. Good end-to-end reach with an exceptionally opened soundstage, biggest of any earbuds I ever listened to.

Also, I think I know a bit about the intricacies of measuring such type of earbuds: :wink:
Rose Maria II raw measurements with different levels of seal:

B4O1bbj.jpg

That said, I don't concur with drawing an (imo artificial) line between classic flathead and side-firing earbuds. While there's a justified distinction in terms of acoustics between full-sealing IEMs and open (non-sealing) earbuds, I don't see where that kind of distinction might be between the classic flathead and side-firing types? In my understanding, both types rely on the proximity effect for bass. Which means, the closer they're placed towards your ear canal (but still without seal), the bassier they'll sound - as demonstrated in my measurements of Rose Maria II.

Anyway, don't want to derail this thread any further, I'll just say that I have side-firing TWS earbuds that match if not exceed RM II in soundstage size and openness. Of course, perception of soundstage is subjective and may vary between different listeners, so that's just my personal 2c on that topic.
 
May 11, 2022 at 3:48 AM Post #45,243 of 46,460

Sam L

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What makes you think that I don't have experience with classic earbuds? Actually, I've been in and out of these ever since the first Yuin PK series. And my latest acquisition has been at the recommendation of one well-known Mr. ClieOS, who wrote the following about it:


Also, I think I know a bit about the intricacies of measuring such type of earbuds: :wink:


That said, I don't concur with drawing an (imo artificial) line between classic flathead and side-firing earbuds. While there's a justified distinction in terms of acoustics between full-sealing IEMs and open (non-sealing) earbuds, I don't see where that kind of distinction might be between the classic flathead and side-firing types? In my understanding, both types rely on the proximity effect for bass. Which means, the closer they're placed towards your ear canal (but still without seal), the bassier they'll sound - as demonstrated in my measurements of Rose Maria II.

Anyway, don't want to derail this thread any further, I'll just say that I have side-firing TWS earbuds that match if not exceed RM II in soundstage size and openness. Of course, perception of soundstage is subjective and may vary between different listeners, so that's just my personal 2c on that topic.
thx for the maria ii measurements. I haven't setup my measurement rig on my new laptop yet (which isn't hard, but I run autoeq and it can be hit or miss getting python installed easily.) That 2k spike is a bit too much for me. I still listen to the maria ii frequently but they aren't my favorite bud by a large margin.
 
May 11, 2022 at 4:16 AM Post #45,244 of 46,460

Devodonaldson

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So, as far as TWS adapter, I bought the UTWS5 as soon as it came out, and I used the z1r with them... at the gym. My experience is that it didn't sound better than the XM4, which was a bummer, but I think the true issue was lack of power. The z1r need some power to make them shine. Paired with the Ifi idsd signature, they sounded flipping brilliant. with UTWS5, not so much. I considered going with a more easily powered iem, but that's just another rabbit hole... but I guess this whole hobby is that. My wife gives me the side eye every time something shows up on our porch.
I can understand this. Tried utws5 with Audeze Euclid and I felt is was ok. Planar like power. With my CA Solaris, the utws5 sound great. Unlike with my Sony zx507 Dap, the utws5 gives the Solaris some needed low end authority. Really enjoy the sound from that combo
 
May 11, 2022 at 5:59 AM Post #45,245 of 46,460

Ceeluh7

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Any thoughts on which Earphone Tips (stock or 3rd party) are best with the Fokus Pros?
I use the kbear 07 tips. It gives the Fokus pro a nice punch without congestion or mud. Opens up the soundstage a bit as well as these tips are more of a wide bore tip but really firm, with a firm stem, more firm flange to seal. I was using the final tips but things got a bit too closed in with those.
 
May 11, 2022 at 6:23 AM Post #45,247 of 46,460

Devodonaldson

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I use the kbear 07 tips. It gives the Fokus pro a nice punch without congestion or mud. Opens up the soundstage a bit as well as these tips are more of a wide bore tip but really firm, with a firm stem, more firm flange to seal. I was using the final tips but things got a bit too closed in with those.
Ah...and that was my issue with the stock tips. The stem was too firm foe me, leading to discomfort in the ear canal after 30 min or so. Had to do some searching, looking for mildly open to wide bore. Found some aofr generic that I had that are a happy compromise on all accounts. Love the Fokus, like the Falcon Pro now that I put Final type E and tamed the treble a bit
 
May 11, 2022 at 11:59 AM Post #45,249 of 46,460

scubaphish

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Looks like Amazon sold out of initial stock of MTW3. Anyone happen to know Sennheiser return policy? Says “allowed within timeframe” without saying what timeframe is. Just says that it’s on order confirm…but I’d like to know before I make purchase.
 
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May 11, 2022 at 12:24 PM Post #45,250 of 46,460

BooleanBones

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Looks like Amazon sold out of initial stock of MTW3. Anyone happen to know Sennheiser return policy? Says “allowed within timeframe” without saying what timeframe is. Just says that it’s on order confirm…but I’d like to know before I make purchase.
I believe they are the standard 30 days as well. Might be worth a call to them if no one has an experience with them.
 
May 11, 2022 at 12:29 PM Post #45,251 of 46,460

Ceeluh7

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Ah...and that was my issue with the stock tips. The stem was too firm foe me, leading to discomfort in the ear canal after 30 min or so. Had to do some searching, looking for mildly open to wide bore. Found some aofr generic that I had that are a happy compromise on all accounts. Love the Fokus, like the Falcon Pro now that I put Final type E and tamed the treble a bit
Final tips will most certainly do that. I actually didn't dislike the final tips at all on the Fokus pro. Also they don't completely dismantle the upper regions of the mix, just smooths them out a bit. The soundstage closed a little bit but nothing really destroys the Fokus pro unless you have a horrible seal. Nice man
 
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May 11, 2022 at 1:35 PM Post #45,253 of 46,460

jant71

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The closed Linkbuds option some here might have waited for … spotted over on AliExpress… terrible shipping time though. Arrival July 10th… yikes.
Could be interesting, or disastrous.

8B495A42-C946-4D3C-B35D-A1745D3C86E5.jpeg
Think we knew it was coming. Sony should have included this type of thing. Need red for R and blue for L of course.
 
May 11, 2022 at 2:57 PM Post #45,255 of 46,460

jant71

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Of course just go to the Home depot or hardware store or Amazon and get your Linkbud plugs much faster. I might go wood with some nice purple heart color stain....
1652295397453.png

If there was ever a DIY mod this is as good as any. All you need is to measure the opening right to get the right fit :)
 
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