ISN Earphones impression thread. New ISN NEO 3!
May 31, 2022 at 5:32 PM Post #3,586 of 4,904
Alright enough with the joke already!
They are the H40 themselves ~ The modded ones!

I just keep using the H40 (its close to half a year by now) and somehow still realize how good the H40 tuning is with that grande presentation, the coherence and the big soundstage.
As i wrote last time with my impressions, that the bass is a little big for me, and somehow a bit bloated, just a little bit with mid bass hump. And details are not their strength (they are quite good but not spectacular like their soundstage)
Actually i have been think about this sometimes ago, but i didn't bother and let the day pass.
So 2 days ago, out of my curiousity, I cant help it, since the nozzle grill holes also smaller than usual, they tend to be blocked someday.
Short story, I open up the grill out of my curiousity.

lift up the grill with needle from the edge



And... i found out that there is a mesh damper stick on behind the metal nozzle grill. Believe it or not, this kind of mesh damper is effecting sound more than cables, or eartips.
I know they intended to tame the harshness, to smoothen trebles and high mids but from my experiences, the bad side effects is shadowing the good effects.
This kind of damper, the mesh cloth made bass frequencies bloated, because they reduce air flow as much, the mesh cloth blocked the air way. Think of tape the vent holes or blocking the entire nozzle. Bass will become bigger, but bloated, boomy.
They really need to stop using this kind of damper. Or at least, don't block entire surface, make the damper like donut shape, leaving the center portion uncovered.

Learn from big boys please, JVC and Sony how they make details yet clear, smooth, and precise. They are using sponge, from the cheapo MH755 until top end M7/M9, I guess same with Z1R too.
JVC does it different way, take a look on FDX1 filters, yes a rolled cotton on side of the nozzle, that is their secret damper. Main point is don't ever block the entire surface, never block the air.
This is not my first time, Been doing this to a lot IEMs, particularly with similar mesh dampers.
THe BQEYZ Spring 1 (see my Spring 1 review), various KZs (if you want it to be mentioned, but they need serious other damper), BLON BL-03 (see BLON thread).
Even the BQEYZ themselves finally take the suggestion, and Spring 2 is born, without mesh cloth.

there is a mesh cloth damper behind


Then I changed the grill with spare grill nozzle, the 4.7mm net grill is way to go. I would using cut of sponge or cotton if they are go wild (harsh).
5 minutes tricks change your $200 IEMs sounded like $500 ones, goes from $300 sounds. Seriously.
I was scared how good the H40 in their full potential, the mesh cloth hold theirs.
HOLY MOLY!!! i was expecting some upgrades, i can guess on its clarity, and maybe slight tightness in bass, but they go far beyond my expectation!!

left : after grill mod, right : original grill (small holes and mesh cloth under the grill, bad airflow)


+++Bass is 1 of the best bass now in their class, that sub bass focused, mid bass tightness and speed, they are very agile and fast. Great rumbles and texture and very very clean. Winning point is here. The quantity is reduce a little bit so basshead please be warned,
but they go from bloated quantity to great quality bass, with very good proportion between sub bass and mid bass, no more mid bass bloat. You have to hear them by yourself, this bass section is the major improvement you can get with this mod.

++clarity. definitely become much clearer sounds, close your eyes, guitar strings are there few steps from you.

++coherence and tuning. Tuning become more proportion, its like Blessing 2 tuning based on FR, with bit uplift subbass still with their decent note weight, more balance, less shouty upper mids but more highs extension

+speed. faster transient, catching up every single notes, precisely, handles busy tracks better.

+details. Add more of micro details, not quite a jump but definitely better than original with mesh cloth.

+soundstage. Same width, or maybe slightly bigger but only a hair differences, but they added depth and sounded more natural yet airy

++imaging. Imaging become much more precise and sharp in a good way. Big improvement from original slight blurry imaging.

+separation. become more clear with air in between instruments

+highs extension become more better but a bit intense and not so forgiving to bad records

*same forwarded and smooth mids, not shouty at all

-more intense highs, especially 6-8khz so treble sensitive people need to place cut of cotton inside (dont block entire nozzle)


seriously they improved almost in every sectors, especially the sub bass and mid bass, and they are 100% reversible if you dont like it.
Ok FAQ, what is the cons then? I want to say nothing, sounded like too good to be true, but really they are not harsh at all. Their tuning of pinna gain is definitely less than 10db. That explains much.
I was prepared to damper the 3,6,8khz but i didnt need to. from songs that i tried on past 2 days, only around 5% that give me sibilances, but they have bright recording. you can add cotton a bit if you want to your preferences, just make sure dont block entire nozzle.
Maybe the only downside they sounded more "RAW", so they more unforgiving to bad recording, again especially on 7-8khz, ocassional sibilances

So are they become much better? how better?
Yes they are, much much better, take with grain of salt since i cant A-B comparing, but from my memories, they are on similar or catching level of IT04, Sony Z5, better than blessing 1. And leave entry level midfi like Spring 1, i3, NX7 Pro behind there with definite gap.

I compared them with my Sony M7, they are catching closely now, crazy $200 vs $600 comparison. M7 have better layering obviously, its their speciality. But the clarity, the overal tuning and balance,
the Bass quality, the coherence, the note weight they are very close now, just slightly below M7. Before i can heard the gap easily.
One more info, I bought my H40 at full price, not review unit - same with my Sony IER-M7, Im trying to share this info objectively, I don't want to overhype it.



Seriously from IEMs i modded (and mostly they are better) only H40 give me this goosebumps. You have to try them yourself. and please do
especially @Dsnuts , give them a shot and compare them with Blessing 2 and Mofafest Trio. What? I'm not kidding.

*Note : H40, 150 hours+, default cable single ended, DX160 high gain, azla sedna short M with deep insertion (ps : now the spiral dot++ also pair great with this set, before i said too softening, too bouncy feeling)

Funny thing - my ISN H40s sounded like an entire BA driver failed on each and Penon suggested I pop open the grills. Sure enough that fine mesh had clogged - ear wax and glue had combined into some weird blue gunk. When I remove the grills entirely the sound is not only restored, but there is a bit more detail in there.

Can anyone suggest where to source 4.7mm grills for the ISN H40s for the US? I'd prefer something shorter than shipping from overseas:

I have no idea which of these are good bets:
* Alixpress (with many options in the related products area)
* ebay (had to scroll a while, maybe I'm not using the right search term)

I'll go rummage through my old crappy headphones that have failed to see if I can repurpose something else in the meantime
 
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Jun 1, 2022 at 10:38 AM Post #3,587 of 4,904
If all things fail State side.
They're faster than Ali, 6 years experience buying from them...
https://penonaudio.com/5-pairs-of-in-ear-earphone-filter-grill.html
1654094195350.png
 
Jun 1, 2022 at 6:50 PM Post #3,588 of 4,904
Jun 2, 2022 at 3:44 AM Post #3,589 of 4,904
grills.png


The gold grill on the left is the H40's, the silver in the middle is the 4.8mm grill, and the right one is they overlap , almost the same.
 
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Jun 5, 2022 at 11:06 AM Post #3,592 of 4,904
Does anyone know how these compare to the Dunu SA6?
I’m familiar with the SA6, will be able to do some comparisons in a few, when my ISN models arrive. Is there a specific model you want compared; maybe the ISN EST50, I would presume?
 
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Jun 5, 2022 at 11:21 AM Post #3,593 of 4,904
I’m familiar with the SA6, will be able to do some comparisons in a few, when my ISN models arrive. Is there a specific model you want compared; maybe the ISN EST50, I would presume?
Wow!
I'm looking forward to this!
Could you please also do comparison with the earsonics onyx? And also any other similar tuned IEMs?
Thank you!
 
Jun 5, 2022 at 11:23 AM Post #3,594 of 4,904
Wow!
I'm looking forward to this!
Could you please also do comparison with the earsonics onyx? And also any other similar tuned IEMs?
Thank you!
I have the H40 and EST50 coming first, this week in-fact. I think the EST50 would compare well with the ONYX and SA6?
 
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Jun 5, 2022 at 3:55 PM Post #3,595 of 4,904
Does anyone know how these compare to the Dunu SA6?
H50 has a warmer tonality due to having more lower mids and bass emphasis and generally a fuller, meatier sound vs the SA6. Not just the difference from Sonion dual BAs bass vs the big 10mm dynamic for the H50. Different presentations really. ISN earphones in general are known for its ample use of the lower half of the sound spectrum.

I would give an edge to the SA6 for its detail and technical aspects, sound separation but this has to do with its balance and a more linear leaner harmon sound presentation vs the more body and a fuller sounding H50. They really are different in how they sound so I wouldn't say they are direct competitors here but more just different. SA6 is more of a neutrally balanced set with really good bass for BAs. The H50 is a bit more colored in the way it presents sound as it clearly has more of a w shaped signature in how it is tuned. More sub bass with dynamic texture a bit slower vs the the BA SA6 bass but again makes up for it with a more realistic bass using a dynamic for its bass. SA6 sound a touch more laid back in its mids presentation the H50 a bit more forward with greater note weight. Treble on both sets are done well but H50 is more deliberate in how it is tuned with a greater emphasis for its upper treble presentation vs the SA6. Both are non fatiguing type treble and I feel the the SA6 is balanced a bit better for its treble with the H50 having a touch more coloration with that upper treble emphasis.

Both have roughly equal decently wide stage but it is the H50 that has better depth due to its fuller sound presentation. The H50 brings out much better technical aspects with a more resolving silver based cable. SA6 included cable is almost the value of the H50 by itself so the H50s base ISN S8 cable is OK but I would honestly recommend something more substantial for the H50 to bring out the best on them. This comparison was using the stock cables on both sets in balanced.
 
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Jun 7, 2022 at 9:38 AM Post #3,596 of 4,904
H50 has a warmer tonality due to having more lower mids and bass emphasis and generally a fuller, meatier sound vs the SA6. Not just the difference from Sonion dual BAs bass vs the big 10mm dynamic for the H50. Different presentations really. ISN earphones in general are known for its ample use of the lower half of the sound spectrum.

I would give an edge to the SA6 for its detail and technical aspects, sound separation but this has to do with its balance and a more linear leaner harmon sound presentation vs the more body and a fuller sounding H50. They really are different in how they sound so I wouldn't say they are direct competitors here but more just different. SA6 is more of a neutrally balanced set with really good bass for BAs. The H50 is a bit more colored in the way it presents sound as it clearly has more of a w shaped signature in how it is tuned. More sub bass with dynamic texture a bit slower vs the the BA SA6 bass but again makes up for it with a more realistic bass using a dynamic for its bass. SA6 sound a touch more laid back in its mids presentation the H50 a bit more forward with greater note weight. Treble on both sets are done well but H50 is more deliberate in how it is tuned with a greater emphasis for its upper treble presentation vs the SA6. Both are non fatiguing type treble and I feel the the SA6 is balanced a bit better for its treble with the H50 having a touch more coloration with that upper treble emphasis.

Both have roughly equal decently wide stage but it is the H50 that has better depth due to its fuller sound presentation. The H50 brings out much better technical aspects with a more resolving silver based cable. SA6 included cable is almost the value of the H50 by itself so the H50s base ISN S8 cable is OK but I would honestly recommend something more substantial for the H50 to bring out the best on them. This comparison was using the stock cables on both sets in balanced.
Great response, exactly what I needed! The SA6 may be a better all rounder but I think I'd enjoy the tonality of the H50 more.
 
Jun 10, 2022 at 9:55 AM Post #3,598 of 4,904
ISN earphones in general are not the most technical or the best detailed IEMs. That's not the angle they are going for. But they provide a meaty sound very much musical in approach. They get you into your music and are made to enjoy music vs being overly analytical.
Would you say Penon volt(stock cable) is more detailed than H50, FH9 and the SA6?
 
Jun 10, 2022 at 11:39 AM Post #3,600 of 4,904
Would you say Penon volt(stock cable) is more detailed than H50, FH9 and the SA6?
The phones you listed all are competent phones, all having different approaches to sound. Volts are slightly more mid centeric in how it is tuned with the bass and treble accenting its focus with a large wide stage. The FH9 is more energetic in approach to its tuning a large spacious broad v shaped tuning. I would say detail wise these sets are comparable but their presentations are more different than similar. Volts have exquisite rich tonal qualities that makes them unique among tribrids. If you value vocals and or acoustical richness and a fuller note weight Volts stand tall as one of the richest full bodied sounds around. The FH9 is also got a large big sound but it is more based on its bass presence with ample treble with very good detailed presentation. Its got excellent technicalities and detail but is more based on a fun and energetic signature with a foundation for its sound based more on bass and its treble emphasis.

SA6 and H50 I mentioned before and I do consider the SA6 a higher tier of earphone above the H50 but for sheer enjoyment thats where the H50 gets more closer. SA6 looses out to the volt and FH9 in both stage and scope of sound. But the SA6 has its own tuning that is more focused on harmon neutrality vs the the more colored earphones on your list. If you want a highly detailed monitor in the price range of the H50. I would look into the Tansio Mirai Sands.

If you want something that is more musical in approach that is where something like the H50 and even more so the Volts and I would put the FH9 in that mix as well comes into play. The SA6 is the most neutral out of all these earphones but has some very good imaging and detail going for it.

All the phones mentioned here has their merits and it will be more of a matter of what your looking for in a monitor more so than what is more detailed vs another as they are completely different sounding and competent in their own ways.
 
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