Looking for intimate, evocative, vocal based IEM
Jul 26, 2021 at 12:14 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

Filou

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Hello @all!

I'm looking for a new IEM.
Budget is about 800 € (if I can find it used for this price it would be also okay)

The more I researched on the net, the more uncertain I got.
I visited a store about 3h away from me and will share my experiences in a moment.

Before briefly about my profile:

I listen to quite different genres (soul, indie, rock, punk rock, but also modern classical music (e.g. Ludovico Einaudi)), of course I am aware that not all of them can sound equally perfect.
However, I am satisfied when the following songs sound excellent:

Michael Kiwanuka - Cold Little Heart
Tusks - London Thunder
The White Buffalo - The Woods
Adele - Set fire to Rain
Lana Del Rey - Summertime Sadness

So overall probably very vocal emphasized, ballads?

My requirement for the headphones is that they highlight the voices, because thats the part of music that triggers emotion for me. Also they should have a great dynamic range. The voices should preferably penetrate directly into the head, create a closeness to the vocals (for example hearing all the breathing and humming etc. of the vocals). Bass not less than the Andromeda, in doubt more, exactly the same amount would be sufficient however.

I could test:
A&K T9ie
Campfire Dorado
Campfire Andromeda
Fiio FH5s

(Onear, even if I am primarily looking for an In Ear)
Hifiman Sundara and Ananda (just for reference liked them both)
DT1990 (didn't like them)

My favorite so far is the Andromeda.
This one really plays with a great dynamic range, I found voices to be the most direct of all. Bass quantity was appropriate.
The Andromeda really played very energetic and fun to listen to, the only problem is that I find it too tiring in the long run.
I am very sensitive to treble, and found it unpleasant at one point or another. In the long term even more so.
I can therefore unfortunately not decide for it and must continue to search.
(I don't even know if the Andromeda really highlights voices, but relative to the others I really liked this "feature" of them, and there couldn't be enough of it)

The Dorado, for example, I found too dull. Too far away. Just as the Fiio and the DT1990. Somehow I missed the energy, the rousing.

On my research I stumbled accross quite a few possible matches.

Noble K10
Oriolus MK2 - nice intimate vocals?
TG334 - said to have magical voices, in 2021 though probably outdated cuz otherwise lacking?
Oriolus Isabaelle - according to a review here on head-fi it's a single DD copy of the andromeda, however I'm a bit reluctant as it's said to have sometimes sibilance
Shuoer EJ07 - not the M Version probably, because of the brighter highs, otherwise suitable?
Final B2
Vision Ears EVE 20 - from reviews this looks really good doesn't it? but hard to get
Hifiman RE2000? Probably too harsh though
also maybe Solaris?

just for refernece:
unique melody mason fs may be the endgame for my kind of profile? (according to this https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/unique-melody-mason-fabled-sound-special-edition.25094/) I loved to read that review (the first one) and the impressions of the voices, give it a read if you're interested.

Maybe some of you has a suggestion which one would be the most suitable or which one wouldn't fit.
Also recommendations beyond the list are appreciated. Chi-Fi is also appreciated.

Thanks a lot for your input
 
Jul 26, 2021 at 5:58 PM Post #2 of 11

surfgeorge

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I've been monitoring this thread, and since noone has answered I'll give it a shot.

I have little expreience with the IEMs you have listed, only heard the Andromeda (original) briefly a few years ago when I spent a total of 7 hours listening to many IEMs at e-earphones in Tokyo. A year later I was looking for a vocal centric IEM and was ready to invest in a proper BA IEM, ended up getting the QDC 4SS which was considered close to or on par with the TG334. Honestly I really didn't like it, it sounded muffled and at the same time unnaturally fast in decay. So I kept on looking and picked up a Sony IER-M9 when I got a good chance. The M9 really caught my attention at e-earphones, I compared it to the Andromeda and liked the M9 better for it's more impactful bass and more DD like character while still preserving the refinement and detail of a good BA IEM.

I listened to some of the tracks you listed on my Chord Hugo 2 and the IER-M9, the Moondrop Blessing 2 and the Unique Melody 3DT.
I think the M9 is really good with vocals, it has excellent detail, good body and excellent imaging. A possible downside is the mid bass boost which can be a bit dominant and overshadow male vocals. But the excellent separation still makes the vocals a bliss to listen to.
Another thing to be aware of is that the M9 has excellent imaging with a slightly miniature soundstage, which presents all elements of the music at a little distant, not as close and intimate as you might like. But the excellent separation still presents the vocals very very clearly, with great detail without sounding unnaturally fast.

Dynamics are limited with the M9, but Precogvision rates the dynamics the same between the Andromeda and the M9, so if you like the Andro you should be OK with the M9.

Long story short - I'd consider putting the M9 on the list.
 
Jul 26, 2021 at 10:09 PM Post #3 of 11

baskingshark

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Hello @all!

I'm looking for a new IEM.
Budget is about 800 € (if I can find it used for this price it would be also okay)

The more I researched on the net, the more uncertain I got.
I visited a store about 3h away from me and will share my experiences in a moment.

Before briefly about my profile:

I listen to quite different genres (soul, indie, rock, punk rock, but also modern classical music (e.g. Ludovico Einaudi)), of course I am aware that not all of them can sound equally perfect.
However, I am satisfied when the following songs sound excellent:

Michael Kiwanuka - Cold Little Heart
Tusks - London Thunder
The White Buffalo - The Woods
Adele - Set fire to Rain
Lana Del Rey - Summertime Sadness

So overall probably very vocal emphasized, ballads?

My requirement for the headphones is that they highlight the voices, because thats the part of music that triggers emotion for me. Also they should have a great dynamic range. The voices should preferably penetrate directly into the head, create a closeness to the vocals (for example hearing all the breathing and humming etc. of the vocals). Bass not less than the Andromeda, in doubt more, exactly the same amount would be sufficient however.

I could test:
A&K T9ie
Campfire Dorado
Campfire Andromeda
Fiio FH5s

(Onear, even if I am primarily looking for an In Ear)
Hifiman Sundara and Ananda (just for reference liked them both)
DT1990 (didn't like them)

My favorite so far is the Andromeda.
This one really plays with a great dynamic range, I found voices to be the most direct of all. Bass quantity was appropriate.
The Andromeda really played very energetic and fun to listen to, the only problem is that I find it too tiring in the long run.
I am very sensitive to treble, and found it unpleasant at one point or another. In the long term even more so.
I can therefore unfortunately not decide for it and must continue to search.
(I don't even know if the Andromeda really highlights voices, but relative to the others I really liked this "feature" of them, and there couldn't be enough of it)

The Dorado, for example, I found too dull. Too far away. Just as the Fiio and the DT1990. Somehow I missed the energy, the rousing.

On my research I stumbled accross quite a few possible matches.

Noble K10
Oriolus MK2 - nice intimate vocals?
TG334 - said to have magical voices, in 2021 though probably outdated cuz otherwise lacking?
Oriolus Isabaelle - according to a review here on head-fi it's a single DD copy of the andromeda, however I'm a bit reluctant as it's said to have sometimes sibilance
Shuoer EJ07 - not the M Version probably, because of the brighter highs, otherwise suitable?
Final B2
Vision Ears EVE 20 - from reviews this looks really good doesn't it? but hard to get
Hifiman RE2000? Probably too harsh though
also maybe Solaris?

just for refernece:
unique melody mason fs may be the endgame for my kind of profile? (according to this https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/unique-melody-mason-fabled-sound-special-edition.25094/) I loved to read that review (the first one) and the impressions of the voices, give it a read if you're interested.

Maybe some of you has a suggestion which one would be the most suitable or which one wouldn't fit.
Also recommendations beyond the list are appreciated. Chi-Fi is also appreciated.

Thanks a lot for your input

You can read about the Tanchjim Oxygen.
 
Jul 27, 2021 at 3:07 AM Post #4 of 11

surfgeorge

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Jul 27, 2021 at 5:16 AM Post #5 of 11

cocolinho

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Hello @all!

I'm looking for a new IEM.
Budget is about 800 € (if I can find it used for this price it would be also okay)

(...)
Oriolus Isabaelle - according to a review here on head-fi it's a single DD copy of the andromeda, however I'm a bit reluctant as it's said to have sometimes sibilance
well.. I red only 1 guy claiming this... but some saying they are lean/bright which are not the Andromeda out of low impedance output (which I own for many months).

You did not specify which Andro you had/listened but Andromeda 2020 or Andromeda S are even smooth /warmer than Andromeda OG (I owned all of them, plus MW10 also)
 
Jul 27, 2021 at 2:22 PM Post #6 of 11

Filou

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Hi thanks so far!

I remeber reading about the Sony m9, somehow I deleted it from my list, have to invastigate again why I did so.
@cocolinho I listened to the 2020 Andromeda, the bass was appropiate, but shouldn't be less, so I will probably also delete isabaelle from list.
(would like especially a little more subbass than andromeda, otherwise it was okay!)

From my understanding especially tg334, noble k10, eve20 or orioulus mk2 could fit the bill, but since it's almost impossible to demo them, I rely on your experience.
Maybe someone has (or knows someone with) a similar taste according to my mentioned sound profile or has experience with one or more of the IEM's?

(@ranfan @1TrickPony tagged you because I've seen you recommending those IEM's in other threads, hope this doesn't come across as rude)

Thanks so much
 
Jul 27, 2021 at 7:46 PM Post #7 of 11

ranfan

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The Reborn/Mk2 if you want more sub-bass, and the Isa for more mid-bass. The Andromeda 2020 comparison is less accurate in my opinion, as the bass on Isa blew surpasses the Andro by quite a margin (also note thickness and texture, being a DD)
For female vocals it sounds great, but the lower mids is relatively smaller to the upper

You can read more here
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/fli...dio-discussion.826876/page-2279#post-16470354
 
Jul 27, 2021 at 9:30 PM Post #8 of 11

ranfan

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Another intimate, evocative, vocal based IEM that I think deserves attention I think would be the Custom Art FIBAE7. It's good for both male and female vocals, and its tone are slightly on the warmer side. Similarly priced as the Andromeda 2020, but I think it performs better for vocals
 
Jul 28, 2021 at 2:22 AM Post #9 of 11

surfgeorge

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Hi thanks so far!

I remeber reading about the Sony m9, somehow I deleted it from my list, have to invastigate again why I did so.
@cocolinho I listened to the 2020 Andromeda, the bass was appropiate, but shouldn't be less, so I will probably also delete isabaelle from list.
(would like especially a little more subbass than andromeda, otherwise it was okay!)

From my understanding especially tg334, noble k10, eve20 or orioulus mk2 could fit the bill, but since it's almost impossible to demo them, I rely on your experience.
Maybe someone has (or knows someone with) a similar taste according to my mentioned sound profile or has experience with one or more of the IEM's?

(@ranfan @1TrickPony tagged you because I've seen you recommending those IEM's in other threads, hope this doesn't come across as rude)

Thanks so much

I could imagine 2 reasons for taking the M9 off the list - availability and dynamics.
The M9 is not sold in Europe, I got mine from Addicted to Audio in Australia.
Also, the M9 presents music in a more balanced and detail oriented way, inviting to explore all the little details of the music rather than focusing on the big dynamic swings.
What makes it good with vocals is the high level of detail, good body also for male vocals, the excellent imaging and separation and the quite special timbre and decay for a BA.

But going back through what you wrote - it sounds like the Andromeda 2020 with a warmer source could be a really good choice for you.
The Chord Mojo would fit that bill with exceptionally smooth yet detailed and musical mids and more fluid than sparkly treble.

You didn't mention what source you are using - but if you invest that kind of money into an IEM the source quality plays a major role.
Personally I think the Mojo is hard to beat if it fits your use case, but it's not the smallest or most convenient to use.
If you are interested consider that a Mojo 2 is expected to be introduced this year.
 
Jul 30, 2021 at 7:29 PM Post #10 of 11

Rockwell75

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I currently own the Isabellae, the Dorado and the Oriolus Reborn (cosmetic tweak of Oriolius MKII) and have owned the Andromeda 2020 on two occasions as well as the MW10. In my opinion the IEM you want is 100% the Oriolus Isabellae. It does both male and female vocals as intimate, well textured and alluring as anything out there. It meets all your criteria as well as everything I've heard. Yes it straddles bright leaning but is never sibilant or shouty-- and the bass is fan-freaking tastic. There is a slight mid-bass emphasis but the sub-bass is meaty, well textured and very well extended. It's also sublimely coherent which in my experience is one of the biggest factors in terms of facilitating emotional connection and intimacy. Trust me given what you're looking for you need to hear this IEM for yourself before deciding absolutely-- I think it's exactly what you're looking for.


well.. I red only 1 guy claiming this... but some saying they are lean/bright which are not the Andromeda out of low impedance output (which I own for many months).

The Andromeda 2020 comparison is less accurate in my opinion, as the bass on Isa blew surpasses the Andro by quite a margin (also note thickness and texture, being a DD)

I am the one who has made the Andromeda-Isa comparison. I understand there are many specific differences between the IEMs but my opinion is that in terms of overall gestalt and philosophy of tuning Isa does imho take a similar philosophy (well balanced, mid bass bump, midrange emphasis, highly coherent, alluring engaging and emotional tuning) and expresses it through a single DD with some added Oriolus magic. I do realize the bass is very different (Isa's bass is much much better) and Isa has a much better more natural timbre and is vastly superior when it comes to vocals but I stand by the claim that the two IEMs are spiritual siblings and that if you've got Andro and want something similar in gestalt but better in many key ways Isa is a great place to look. As with everything, YMMV.

Edit- I can understand the "bright leaning" at times but I disagree flatly that Isa can be described as lean. It has a very coherent and consistently rich natural timbre.
 
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Aug 3, 2021 at 7:18 AM Post #11 of 11

Filou

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Hi @all

Thanks for your further input.
I have the chance to audition the TOGO 334 in the next few days, I will do this and maybe it's already the IEM I'm searching for.

@Rockwell75 your description of the isabellae sounds good, unfortunately I don't really have a chance to demo them, other than maybe someone knows someone from Germany / Austria / Swiss who has them? According to the graph Isabellae vs Andromeda it seems that Isabellae got quite a bit more treble, so I really don't know.

FIBAE 7 also looks good.

I will further evaluate when I was able to demo the 334.

Thanks
 

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