Hi just chiming in with my views on the Roxanne UF version that I purchased in Hong Kong last week. Previously the only notable headphones I've owned have been the triple-fi 10s (loved them) and the ER4s (very dissapointed).
Reasons for going with UF version were:
- Wait time
- Fit problems (which are more common and more difficult to resolve than with the UFs, which is just a case of sourcing the right tips)
- I want others to be able to listen to my headphones ("I just got these super great $1500 headphones...oh but you can't try of course, but trust me they're the pinnacle of sound!!!!". Sure)
- Able to audition the identical product you're purchasing before you buy
- Mass produced to a common design sounds like a safer bet quality control and consistency wise to me
- can resell at 80% of their value, as apposed to 40%
After walking into DHA, I first resisted the temptation to dive straight in with the Roxannes. I first listened to the Sure 865s, Sennhiesser HD 800s and LCD3s amonst others. The HD800s were disappointing to me, and obviously required a reasonably beefy amp to be driven. That's fine of course for home listening but it'd be nice to able to use the same rig for portable listening. The Shures unfortunately couldn't give me a proper seal with the available tips, and (possibly as a result) sounded a bit harsh.
Then I tried the Audeze LCD3s, wow. Could be driven reasonably easy even from my phone (plus point) and the sound was easily the best I'd heard from a pair of headphones, which is kind of what I expected! So what would I lose by going for the more portable, cheaper in ear Roxannes? As it turned out not a lot.
Having tried several IEMs in the past, the first thing I recognized was the sound stage - instrument positioning was not lost or muddied between 10 and 2 o'clock as tends to happen in most IEMs. The soundstage performance is very important to me personally as someone who needs a portable rig for mixing and mastering audio. As pointed out before, the sound of the roxannes is very comparable to the LCD3s, and the sound feels like it's originating outside of the ears rather than directly at the ear drum as I'm used to. To say the experience left me with a huge grin on my face is an understatement.
The Roxannes are by no means dark, they will reveal sibalenace in recordings and will sound peaky if not inserted deep enough into the ear - so the right tips are important. However I suppose you could consider them dark, in relation to headphones such as the Triple-fi 10s for example, which are to my ears far more U shaped. The key thing here is that with great recordings, these things sound amazing. With compressed MP3s full of splashy phased treble mixed in some attempt to compensate for crappy consumer gear, the roxannes will present the sound accordingly (!). But for me, this unforgiving presentation is exactly what I need.
Still in the honey moon phase, will update as I go.
Very nicely put, looking forward to your future impressions