IEM for metal music and hard rock - ultimate solution
Nov 30, 2023 at 7:08 AM Post #1,997 of 2,064
I just want to make sure there's no confirmation bias on my end: how do guys feel about the FatFreq Grand Maestro as an endgame TOTL IEM for primarily extreme metal subgenres? Remember that there's four configurations. I've personally been dissatisfied with the UM MEST MK1 and MK2 (haven't tried the MKIII) this whole time (though I'd attribute the latter to fit issues - and believe me I've tried every possible combination of tips out there). There's other high end sets that I've demo'd but I don't want further propagate my confirmation bias (I see a lot of them in signatures in this thread) - let's just say that I do like my bass slam without the midbass bloat on double kicks/blast beats, and I obviously would love a technical/high resolution set but it's hard to find a perfect compromise or that Goldilocks zone. Essentially, I haven't tried the UM Mentor/Amber Pearls, Subtonic Storm, or the latest FiR RAD6 (or the Xe6).

I'd say my main subgenres right now are: tech death (Inferi, Stortregn, Demon King, First Fragment, Beyond Creation, Ophidian I, etc. but also early Cynic/Atheist/Gorguts, pretty much everyone on The Artisan Era label though), disso death (Ulcerate, Artificial Brain, Immolation), meloblack (Moonlight Sorcery, Vinterland, Dawn), funeral doom (Evoken, Shape of Despair), classic death (Death, Dismember, Tomb Mold), lots of black/folk and blackened thrash amongst more. Here's a quick list of my Top 288 Albums Of The Year to give you a quick idea or look at my LastFM account if you want. Cheers.
 
Nov 30, 2023 at 9:04 AM Post #1,998 of 2,064
I just want to make sure there's no confirmation bias on my end: how do guys feel about the FatFreq Grand Maestro as an endgame TOTL IEM for primarily extreme metal subgenres? Remember that there's four configurations. I've personally been dissatisfied with the UM MEST MK1 and MK2 (haven't tried the MKIII) this whole time (though I'd attribute the latter to fit issues - and believe me I've tried every possible combination of tips out there). There's other high end sets that I've demo'd but I don't want further propagate my confirmation bias (I see a lot of them in signatures in this thread) - let's just say that I do like my bass slam without the midbass bloat on double kicks/blast beats, and I obviously would love a technical/high resolution set but it's hard to find a perfect compromise or that Goldilocks zone. Essentially, I haven't tried the UM Mentor/Amber Pearls, Subtonic Storm, or the latest FiR RAD6 (or the Xe6).

I'd say my main subgenres right now are: tech death (Inferi, Stortregn, Demon King, First Fragment, Beyond Creation, Ophidian I, etc. but also early Cynic/Atheist/Gorguts, pretty much everyone on The Artisan Era label though), disso death (Ulcerate, Artificial Brain, Immolation), meloblack (Moonlight Sorcery, Vinterland, Dawn), funeral doom (Evoken, Shape of Despair), classic death (Death, Dismember, Tomb Mold), lots of black/folk and blackened thrash amongst more. Here's a quick list of my Top 288 Albums Of The Year to give you a quick idea or look at my LastFM account if you want. Cheers.
Thank you very much for sharing, you will have a playlist (Qobuz or Sppotify) to be able to listen to your list of the 288 albums of the year, Greetings "Stay Heavy"
 
Nov 30, 2023 at 9:54 AM Post #1,999 of 2,064
I just want to make sure there's no confirmation bias on my end: how do guys feel about the FatFreq Grand Maestro as an endgame TOTL IEM for primarily extreme metal subgenres? Remember that there's four configurations. I've personally been dissatisfied with the UM MEST MK1 and MK2 (haven't tried the MKIII) this whole time (though I'd attribute the latter to fit issues - and believe me I've tried every possible combination of tips out there). There's other high end sets that I've demo'd but I don't want further propagate my confirmation bias (I see a lot of them in signatures in this thread) - let's just say that I do like my bass slam without the midbass bloat on double kicks/blast beats, and I obviously would love a technical/high resolution set but it's hard to find a perfect compromise or that Goldilocks zone. Essentially, I haven't tried the UM Mentor/Amber Pearls, Subtonic Storm, or the latest FiR RAD6 (or the Xe6).

I'd say my main subgenres right now are: tech death (Inferi, Stortregn, Demon King, First Fragment, Beyond Creation, Ophidian I, etc. but also early Cynic/Atheist/Gorguts, pretty much everyone on The Artisan Era label though), disso death (Ulcerate, Artificial Brain, Immolation), meloblack (Moonlight Sorcery, Vinterland, Dawn), funeral doom (Evoken, Shape of Despair), classic death (Death, Dismember, Tomb Mold), lots of black/folk and blackened thrash amongst more. Here's a quick list of my Top 288 Albums Of The Year to give you a quick idea or look at my LastFM account if you want. Cheers.
First and foremost, killer album list! Thanks for sharing. I listen to many of the same genres / bands as you do. I need to revisit some of your top plays. The Hath album rules! As does new Moonlight Sorcery 🤘

The FiR RN6 is currently my go-to IEM for metal. It's got a very textured, realistic and punchy bass response with it's kinetic DD. Of the Frontier IEMs I've owned / tired (NE4, XE6 and now RN6), it strikes the best balance of great bass without lots (there is still some) bleed into the mids and a warm-neutral tonality. It's not a "bass first" IEM like the XE6, but still way north of neutral down low. It presents a nice wide soundstage in the X-axis with top tier channel panning and separation but it isn't overly deep or tall.

The Mentor bests RN6 in terms of pure holography and soundstage but I find the bass of RN6 to be more to my preference. Mentor is very good with metal but the bass lacked just a bit of slam and oomph that I crave with bass drum kicks. Between the two, RN6 is my pick, but I'd honestly be happy with either as my go-to.

XE6 is very bombastic with an addictive, club low end that's unlike any other IEMs I've heard, save for EE EVO, but it's omni present and does crowd things down low and pushes way into the mids. It's 'muddy' in the traditional sense, yet still somehow detailed with good techs and has a realistic and well extended treble response. Once your brain adjusts it's really a special IEM. It's not what I would consider to be a good all-arounder for metal, though. More of a specialist that's best with doom / stoner genres.

I haven't heard any of the MESTs, nor Storm, MSE, GM or AP. I would think Storm may be almost too polite for metal as it's going for more of a neutral / reference tuning but with what I've heard are top tier techs and resolution. I hope to hear it someday. It's nearly impossible to buy right now.

Based on what I've read here and in other chats, AP is a more resolving Mentor, with improved bass and a smoother but more natural and detailed treble. Likely also very good with metal (and all genres) but again may lack some of the physicality a DD affords for bass drum kicks. Also, the price is absolutely eyewatering.

I was steered away from MSE and Grand Maestro due to concerns over fit issues as their UIEM shells are very large with long nozzles. A deep fit is required to get the best out of those IEMs so something to consider. If possible, trying to demo them may be worth while. Grand Maestro does seem like a good option with it's tuning switch and modules, and a serious subbass shelf that's tucked in nicely under the mids. The only person I know that owns one is an EDM fan so no direct feedback on how it does with metal.

Other IEMs to consider - Noble Kublai Khan, Aroma Fei Wan, Kinera Loki Emerald and Annihilator '23.

Sorry for this rambling mess. I, like you, am always in a constant search for a top tier IEM for metal listening. It's a fun but exhausting (and expensive) hunt!
 
Dec 1, 2023 at 12:17 AM Post #2,000 of 2,064
First and foremost, killer album list! Thanks for sharing. I listen to many of the same genres by / bands as you do. I need to revisit some of your top plays. The Hath album rules! As does new Moonlight Sorcery 🤘

The FiR RN6 is currently my go-to IEM for metal. It's got a very textured, realistic and punchy bass response with it's kinetic DD. Of the Frontier IEMs I've owned / tired (NE4, XE6 and now RN6), it strikes the best balance of great bass without lots (there is still some) bleed into the mids and a warm-neutral tonality. It's not a "bass first" IEM like the XE6, but still way north of neutral down low. It presents a nice wide soundstage in the X-axis with top tier channel panning and separation but it isn't overly deep or tall.

The Mentor bests RN6 in terms of pure holography and soundstage but I find the bass of RN6 to be more to my preference. Mentor is very good with metal but the bass lacked just a bit of slam and oomph that I crave with bass drum kicks. Between the two, RN6 is my pick, but I'd honestly be happy with either as my go-to.

XE6 is very bombastic with an addictive, club low end that's unlike any other IEMs I've heard, save for EE EVO, but it's omni present and does crowd things down low and pushes way into the mids. It's 'muddy' in the traditional sense, yet still somehow detailed with good techs and has a realistic and well extended treble response. Once your brain adjusts it's really a special IEM. It's not what I would consider to be a good all-arounder for metal, though. More of a specialist that's best with doom / stoner genres.

I haven't heard any of the MESTs, nor Storm, MSE, GM or AP. I would think Storm may be almost too polite for metal as it's going for more of a neutral / reference tuning but with what I've heard are top tier techs and resolution. I hope to hear it someday. It's nearly impossible to buy right now.

Based on what I've read here and in other chats, AP is a more resolving Mentor, with improved bass and a smoother but more natural and detailed treble. Likely also very good with metal (and all genres) but again may lack some of the physicality a DD affords for bass drum kicks. Also, the price is absolutely eyewatering.

I was steered away from MSE and Grand Maestro due to concerns over fit issues as their UIEM shells are very large with long nozzles. A deep fit is required to get the best out of those IEMs so something to consider. If possible, trying to demo them may be worth while. Grand Maestro does seem like a good option with it's tuning switch and modules, and a serious subbass shelf that's tucked in nicely under the mids. The only person I know that owns one is an EDM fan so no direct feedback on how it does with metal.

Other IEMs to consider - Noble Kublai Khan, Aroma Fei Wan, Kinera Loki Emerald and Annihilator '23.

Sorry for this rambling mess. I, like you, am always in a constant search for a top tier IEM for metal listening. It's a fun but exhausting (and expensive) hunt!

At this point the FiR RN6 has really piqued my interest as the top choice and I ordered it once I saw this post this morning given its price point (I really wish I went with my gut instinct and ordered them before the BFCM induced backorder).

It seems like the the closest to what I was looking for, I'm just not sure what to do if I end up preferring it over the FF GrM (the confirmation bias I was trying to avoid if that makes sense) - I guess I'll have to sell them, such is the nature of this hobby and seemingly endless pursuit (self-induced no doubt but ever so present).

I have a specific "bro-type" IEM reviewer/YouTube content creator (BGGA) that I strongly resonate with in terms of tuning preferences - his tier list has those two at the top (the UM AB is not a price I'm willing to pay - everything else is fair game though). He doesn't even listen to the exact (sub)genres listed but it's uncanny how well our preferences are.m Amplify Audio Reviews (Sajid Amit) is another excellent reviewer and content creator in my opinion and his tuning tastes also resonate with mine (yet he doesn't listen to those specific subgenres either).

Sorry I went on a tangent there, but overall I'm very pleased with your response and appreciate the passion and time you've put in!

Thank you very much for sharing, you will have a playlist (Qobuz or Sppotify) to be able to listen to your list of the 288 albums of the year, Greetings "Stay Heavy"

I usually use Qobuz/TIDAL via Roon on desktop and mobile at home, or UAPP on the go with Qobuz/TIDAL as well - but the last two months I've been heavily using Spotify in hopes of the highly sought-after and heavily rumored 24bit/192kHz Supremium Tier (with the best evidence we've seen over the last 7 years). The stats.fm/Spotistats devs themselves were expecting it on Discord with 50k members, as well as the main Spotify Discord server with 75k members, and r/truespotify (with at least a couple dozen threads about this - which include very promising leaks from a trusted Twitter source).

It sucks but it is what it is - I still find the Spotify user experience (UX) and UI to be the best (maybe not so much after the more recent updates) - but it has global mass adoption at this rate with tons of FOSS third party software support and deep integration (DRP or Discord Rich Presence being one of many, though there's an excellent GitHub project that a Spotify Engineer & Dev made me aware of via DMs to make it work with TIDAL funny enough). I've been paying for Spotify Premium for nearly 4 years now only for the sake of sharing links to IRL friends easily - that's its only use for me at this point in time

Anyway after that long rant and using my always existing Soundiiz to batch process/transfer (I didn't know there was a 2k limit per playlist which I don't really use for myself other than sharing with others as the current case):


Note: I'll hyperlink Spotify as well later.
Thank you @Garney!
You didn't misread anything by the way - I was just trying to avoid internal confirmation bias if that makes sense, and I'll gladly do a subjective comparison/mini-review of sorts when I get the chance. Also I need to get back into the Metal Music thread, I've found countless hidden gems there over the years. The new Varathron and Cruciamentum are great LPs.
 
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Dec 1, 2023 at 7:44 AM Post #2,002 of 2,064
At this point the FiR RN6 has really piqued my interest as the top choice and I ordered it once I saw this post this morning given its price point (I really wish I went with my gut instinct and ordered them before the BFCM induced backorder).

It seems like the the closest to what I was looking for, I'm just not sure what to do if I end up preferring it over the FF GrM (the confirmation bias I was trying to avoid if that makes sense) - I guess I'll have to sell them, such is the nature of this hobby and seemingly endless pursuit (self-induced no doubt but ever so present).

I have a specific "bro-type" IEM reviewer/YouTube content creator (BGGA) that I strongly resonate with in terms of tuning preferences - his tier list has those two at the top (the UM AB is not a price I'm willing to pay - everything else is fair game though). He doesn't even listen to the exact (sub)genres listed but it's uncanny how well our preferences are.m Amplify Audio Reviews (Sajid Amit) is another excellent reviewer and content creator in my opinion and his tuning tastes also resonate with mine (yet he doesn't listen to those specific subgenres either).

Sorry I went on a tangent there, but overall I'm very pleased with your response and appreciate the passion and time you've put in!



I usually use Qobuz/TIDAL via Roon on desktop and mobile at home, or UAPP on the go with Qobuz/TIDAL as well - but the last two months I've been heavily using Spotify in hopes of the highly sought-after and heavily rumored 24bit/192kHz Supremium Tier (with the best evidence we've seen over the last 7 years). The stats.fm/Spotistats devs themselves were expecting it on Discord with 50k members, as well as the main Spotify Discord server with 75k members, and r/truespotify (with at least a couple dozen threads about this - which include very promising leaks from a trusted Twitter source).

It sucks but it is what it is - I still find the Spotify user experience (UX) and UI to be the best (maybe not so much after the more recent updates) - but it has global mass adoption at this rate with tons of FOSS third party software support and deep integration (DRP or Discord Rich Presence being one of many, though there's an excellent GitHub project that a Spotify Engineer & Dev made me aware of via DMs to make it work with TIDAL funny enough). I've been paying for Spotify Premium for nearly 4 years now only for the sake of sharing links to IRL friends easily - that's its only use for me at this point in time

Anyway after that long rant and using my always existing Soundiiz to batch process/transfer (I didn't know there was a 2k limit per playlist which I don't really use for myself other than sharing with others as the current case):

Top Metal (1) on Qobuz

Top Metal (2) on Qobuz

Top Metal (3) on Qobuz

Top Metal (4) on Qobuz

Top Electronic (1) on Qobuz https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/18247825

Top Electronic (2) on Qobuz https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/18247829

Top Electronic (3) on Qobuz https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/18247834

Top 250 (2023 w/only 2.5 months) on Qobuz https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/18247844

Top 250 (Last 30 Days) on Qobuz https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/18247848

Note: I'll hyperlink the rest later and also link TIDAL equivalents, I have to go right now. Thanks to both of you though.
Nice! Looking forward to hearing how you find RN6 once you receive it. I must have misread your original post. You already have the Grand Maestro?
 
Dec 1, 2023 at 7:55 AM Post #2,004 of 2,064
How good Simgot EA500 would be for Heavy, Power and Thrash metal?
To my ears, it's absolute horror, the guitar solos are a knife attack, a cat being skinned, way too much treble, I sold it to a friend the next day. I use kiwi ears melody but it's a planar, if you already have a dd and/or a hybrid, it's fine but the tuning is unique: the male voices are excellent, the cymbals resonate perfectly and stretch, lots of mid-bass...
 
Dec 1, 2023 at 9:09 AM Post #2,005 of 2,064
UM Mentor/Amber Pearls, Subtonic Storm, or the latest FiR RAD6 (or the Xe6).
Radon6 or M5 are definitely the safest choices from Fir Audio set-up.
If you are looking for a bassy and meaty sound with top resolution, the AP offers it easily. For my ear the bass and thickness of AP are sometimes too much for some metal records while just fabulously sounding with others.
IMHO, one of the best totl allrounders for any metal is the Traillii. I never heard some brutal death records to have such resolution, speed and impact like with the Bird.
Another allrounder option for me is the Anni 23. If you find a synergy, especially with the tips, to make Anni sound more balanced, it’s surprisingly good for metal music as well. An amazing iem for longer listening sessions…
 
Dec 1, 2023 at 9:36 AM Post #2,006 of 2,064
Radon6 or M5 are definitely the safest choices from Fir Audio set-up.
If you are looking for a bassy and meaty sound with top resolution, the AP offers it easily. For my ear the bass and thickness of AP are sometimes too much for some metal records while just fabulously sounding with others.
IMHO, one of the best totl allrounders for any metal is the Traillii. I never heard some brutal death records to have such resolution, speed and impact like with the Bird.
Another allrounder option for me is the Anni 23. If you find a synergy, especially with the tips, to make Anni sound more balanced, it’s surprisingly good for metal music as well. An amazing iem for longer listening sessions…
I've got Anni '23 coming in today. A bit nervous making the blind buy on it but I've heard enough good things about it, including praise from friends that listen to the same metal as I do, so jumped.

I find very few faults with RN6 with metal unless it's poorly recorded / mastered black metal. For death metal (my main genre) it's been an excellent match for my preferences.
 
Dec 1, 2023 at 10:05 AM Post #2,007 of 2,064
I've got Anni '23 coming in today. A bit nervous making the blind buy on it but I've heard enough good things about it, including praise from friends that listen to the same metal as I do, so jumped.

I find very few faults with RN6 with metal unless it's poorly recorded / mastered black metal. For death metal (my main genre) it's been an excellent match for my preferences.
Congrats on the purchase :) Anni needs some power and I found it very tip dependent. But I think you’ll like it. I prefer Anni over Fir iems for metal.
 
Dec 1, 2023 at 10:14 AM Post #2,008 of 2,064
Congrats on the purchase :) Anni needs some power and I found it very tip dependent. But I think you’ll like it. I prefer Anni over Fir iems for metal.
Thanks! Shanling M9 is my main DAP. Hoping it's got the juice to fully drive Anni. If that fails I'll run it on my Asgard 3.

What tips are you finding you like best? I've got a slew of tips at the ready - SpinFit W1, ET Baroque, Symbio W, AET07, Crystal, Xelastec and SpiralDot++.
 

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