Got the Sensaphonics 2X-S yesterday
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Tyson

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Box from sensaphonics in my mail room last night, created a very big grin on my face.

Rushing up to my apartment, tearing open the box. Suprise, they are using new cases to ship these in. Looks like a hard plastic divers case, has my name imprented on the opening clasp. Very nice.

Looking at the 2X-S they appear exactly like Lindrone's pics in his earlier review. Putting them in is no problem at all, after the Shure E5's and Ety 4S, these are a snap to get in.

Good news and bad news.

When I put them in and fired up Nikka Costa I'm thinking to myself, these things sound exactly like the Shure E5's. Big dissapointment. So, I figure they need to break in a bit, let them play for a few hours while my wife and I go to the movies. Come back and they are sounding much nicer. 1st observation, the do NOT like my OTL tube amp. Hum and buzz, and an overall mushy sound. So, time for a solid state headphone amp, I've got 2 at home, the Xcan's V1 heavily modded (actually a hybrid, with tube input and SS output). Much nicer. Then tried it with the headphone output from my AVA Transcendance 7 preamp, again very nice.

Going back to Nikka Costa, the voices are clearer and more prominent than on the Shure E5's, the bass is very strong and warm, but quite textured and fast. Mids blend perfectly, as does the high end. In fact the high end is the bit story here for me, as I listen to a lot fo classical music, so I immediately qued up the Kreutzer violin Sonata by Beethoven, performed by Perlman and Ashkenazy. On the E5's the violin almost sounds like a viola and the piano is a bit bass heavy. On the 2X-S the balance is pretty much perfect. The violin sounds like a violin, and you can hear the upper harmonics glinting off the strings and bow. One other area where it is immediately obvious the 2X-S outclasses the the E5's is the midrange and high frequency dynamics. The E5's tended to sound too relaxed, and the "jump factor" at these frequencies was diminished. This is something the Ety 4S did very well, and the 2X-S matches them there. And of course the 2X-S has better bass than the E5 (because it is tighter and more detailed), and far, far better bass than the E4 (becuase there is actually bass power).

Compared to my BeyerDynamic 250-250's, the 250's sound grainy and flat compared to the 2X-S. And compared to my Senn HD600's, the 600's sound undynamic, flat, and lacking bass.

So, the good news is that I'm ecstatically happy with the sound quality. The bad news is that the fit was terrible. If I opened my mouth even a little, the seal would break. If I moved my jaw to the side even a little, the seal would break. Singing along with a song would cause the seal to break. Leaning forward or laying down face down would cause the seal to break.

Needless to say I was NOT happy. So, called my audiologist and we set an appointment today to work through this. We met up a few hours ago, and he made sure I was putting them right (I was), and then we proceeded to make new impressions of my ears. We did 3 things different this time. 1st, the old impressions didn't go deep enough in my ear canal to make me feel like I got a great fit with great isolation. So, he put in the "stopper" much deeper in my ear this time (luckily I don't have a gag or cough reflex, which many people do, so this didn't bother me at all). Next, he had me do the impression with an open mouth (I bit down on a fairly wide box to keep my jaw rigidly open), and third he used a different, more viscous solution to inject in to my ears, to get an ever more detailed impression.

When they finished drying and he pulled them out, they were much deeper, and should make for a great fit when I get my 2X-S back again from Sensaphonics. BTW, this re-fitting was all part of the Sensaphonic guarantee, so it was all done for me completely free. Overall I'm disappointed that they didn't fit perfectly the first time, but glad to see that Sensaphonics really stands behind their product.
 
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sleepkyng

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congrats Tyson!

one day i hope to get a pair of custom molds, i think the regular canalphones just dont do it for me
 
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plainsong

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On the UE website, it says to always take the impressions with your mouth wide open for the best fit.


It sucks you didn't get it right the first time, I blame your audiologist.


But at least they stand behind their products and will get you hooked up again soon. Time to wait on pins and needles again, huh?
 
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lindrone

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Well, the seal breaking isn't Sensaphonic's fault either way, all they've got is the impression that your audiologist got.. and that's all they have to go on.

You should spank your audiologist for being incompetent instead


Glad to hear you like how they sound.. how long before you get the new pair?
 
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cmascatello

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Please post pics of the 2X-S and the new case when you get a chance. I am curious if they have changed the case in the last few weeks since I got mine. It sucks that your molds were sub-par, but let me tell you, when they are good these things kick some royal ass. My 2X-S molds were very deep and my audiologist had me open my mouth a bit as the compound was just about hard. I have a perfect seal when I open my mouth and can even run a finger around the outside of the IEM (between my ear and the IEM) and the seal does not break. I guess I am lucky....
 
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Hmmm . . . Sensaphonics website talks about their "specially trained" audiologists that go through some kind of certification process so that they can get on the approved audiologist list. I actually went to see one of their recommended audiologists for impressions for custom earpieces for sleeping (I hadn't yet decided on custom iems and figured I'd have a conversation with the audiologist about them) and found myself in a combination OB/GYN/OTOLARYNGOLOGY practice (! Hellava combo, eh?) and to make things worse they screwed up my appointment and weren't expecting me. Since the appointment the audiologist was waiting for hadn't shown up yet you'd think she would have taken me in -- but no, she couldn't be bothered to squeeze in a ten minute appointment!

Technically I know this is not Sensaphonics fault specifically -- but if they make a point of recommending specific audiologists (which they do -- they gave me this person's name and number) then they should really be focussed on both the nature of the audiologist's practice and their basic competence.

By contrast I looked into a phonebook to get a random audiologist -- but a full-fledged audiologist practice, mind you, not an OB/GYN clinic with a part-timer in there -- when I got my molds for my UE5c and I couldn't believe the difference. Clean, beautiful waiting room; they were expecting me; very competent audiologist. Plus I had brought the UE "Making a good impression" instruction sheet and they followed it to the letter. As for fit, my hard acrylic UE5c fit like a dream and I cannot break the seal AT ALL unless I use BOTH hands and pull my ear apart. Nothing, I repeat Nothing, causes that seal to release otherwise.

I suppose I was just lucky but I do wish companies realized the extent to which their own reputations suffer when they recommend shoddy people at the front line of their product. Frankly the experience with their "recommended, certified Sensaphonic audiologist" office made me cross the company off my list for any products, including sleeping earplugs. Was your audiologist recommended/"certified" by Sensaphonics? That would be horrible!

Anyway I am glad these phones sound wonderful!!! I think it is great that there are so many high-end options for us gearhounds now. It is probably just a taste of things to come!!!

Hope they expedite the re-do of your new ears! Enjoy!
 
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Tyson

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Thanks for all the support guys. I don't really blame the audiologist, since I think the way he does it is the preferred method for his usual clientel (people getting hearing aids), where a bit more comfort is preferable to a really tight seal. He's also fitted plenty of other people for the Sensa's and I'm pretty much the only one that has had a problem. I'm just glad there's a way to rectify the situation, and that it was done without hesitation and completely professionally.

As for waiting, it'll probably be another 2 weeks, but this wait won't be nearly as "long" as the initial 2 weeks. The first time I was on pins and needles because I'd just spent $800 and didn't know if the Sensa's would be worth it. Now I know that they are, so I can relax and be a bit more patient.
 
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Tyson you are so right about that initial wait and the "fear factor" of unknowingly plopping down all that money and hoping the puppies are worth it! The only thing comparable is skis that you can't demo first -- lots o' money down, who knows what result -- of course you can sell skis if you hate them! Glad you love your new phones.
 
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