MacaW GT100s(inverted dynamic driver) impressions thread
Jun 14, 2015 at 3:14 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 235

Selenium

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(not my pic)

I stumbled upon these Macaws randomly on eBay while looking for a lifelike David Hasselhoff mask. Decided to take a chance on them because they were tickling my spider-sense, and also I just really dig this form-factor(the VSD5 was my first, this is already my fourth). Aaaand the case kinda-sorta pushed me over the edge. :D They were already on headfi radar, and now that a few of us have them, with impressions being very positive, I figured they could use their own thread.



There are some useful instructions on the back for getting your new IEMs out of the packaging. If you don't want to resort to using a hammer.


Here's the GT100s with the Dunu Titan and Vsonic VSD5.





The in-line remote. It's nice.





The case.



And lastly, here's a pic showing the issues I've had with the accessories of this earphone so far.


Build quality

They come with three sets of filters(balanced, trebly, and bassy) which can be easily swapped out by screwing them into the housings, and while installing the gold(trebly) filters, a piece of said filter sort of threaded off(it's the squigly metal bit in the pic) and got lodged inside the earphone. I was able to get it out with a bit of effort. Weird. So I can't use the gold filters; a bit bummed out about that. Also, one of the tips ripped apart while I was taking it off. Never had that happen before.

Build quality seems exceptional otherwise. I have my reservations now after my issue with the filter, but I hope that's just some sort of weird isolated incident. Even the zombie apocalypse Aurisonics Rockets have had at least one reported build quality issue. It's also worth nothing that the filters are not the same size; the black(bassy) filters are larger than the silvers(balanced) for instance, which could impact which tips you use.

Fit

These are heavy as far as IEMs go, but I've not had an issue once I have them in. One of the reasons I greatly prefer using IEMs over-the-ear is because I like to be able to take them out and leave them hanging - for me it's like the earphone equivalent of having a pair of cans around your neck. And heavier IEMs have a propensity to swing and slowly descend when you leave them like that while moving around a lot, but so far I haven't had much issue with these, although they don't stay put up there as easily as something lighter like the VSD5. And again, if you want the earphones to fit flush you might need a specific set of tips for each filter since they're different sizes(the black ones are, anyway). They'll probably be a little uncomfortable for some, as the belly of the earphone is hardly ergonomic:



Sound

Twister has stated in his review/impressions that these sound like a hybrid BA+DD, but to me they just sound like a straight-up BA. Using the stock silver filters they are very lean(some people will probably hear them as being "thin"), with excellent detail retrieval and clarity. I'd also consider them, at least using the silver filters, to be a little bass-light. I've only briefly used the black filters, so I can't really speak on how much of a difference they make. They sound to me almost like what I remember the Ety ER4S sounding like, but brighter. Even when it comes to the shoving-detail-down-your-throat and holy-macrel-these-are-clear qualities of the ER4. They also aren't very impactful, so they won't make you feel like you're getting whacked in the head during drum solos; whether that's a good or bad thing is gonna come down to personal preference. I enjoy getting whacked in the head, myself.

Soundstaging and instrument separation are both very good(especially the latter); but whether that has anything to do with the inverted dynamic drivers is tough to say. Anyone wanna take them apart, flip the drivers around and tell us what they sound like? :p

cameringo_20180105_134732.jpg

Another point of note, is that they aren't terribly easy to drive, which is a bummer. I'm not sure what the point is of designing an IEM with smartphone users in mind and making it tough to drive from a smartphone(looking at you, KEF M200). I haven't A/Bed them against anything yet, but plan to against the Titan and also the VSD5. Pretty sure these Macaws are gonna hold their own against both, easily. For $70 they're easy to recommend, but here are some other impressions:

Twister's review and impressions:
http://www.head-fi.org/products/macaw-gt100s-hifi-with-mic-in-ear-earphone-silver/reviews/13359

Quote:
Excellent bottom and top end extension, 3D staging (soundstage expands both in width and depth). Sounds almost like a hybrid with a tight punchy low end and vivid detailed upper mids/treble (nearly analytical quality, can even get a touch hot with some recordings but never harsh/peaky/sibilant); also lower mids do lack some body. SS reminds me A LOT of Titan 1, a lot, except Titans have mids a bit more forward. I prefer GT100s over Titan 1, btw.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/586909/the...-iems-by-twister6-pg-1949/29220#post_11668323

DannyBai's impressions

Sound is excellent all around. Treble sticks out for me. Reminds me of the Titan. I think twister also noticed this. Bass sounds a bit flabby to me but not boomy. Vocals are forward and nice. Overall this is one heck of a bargain. - DannyBai

http://www.head-fi.org/t/586909/the...-iems-by-twister6-pg-1949/29280#post_11678509



Quick comparisons

Vsonic VSD5



The VSD5 is bassier, both mid and sub-bass. By a decent margin. The GT100s has better clarity, and not just clarity by way of a lot of treble either. The Gt100s is more detailed with better instrument separation. VSD5 has a bigger soundstage, but the GT100s has excellent, excellent depth. VSD5 is on the dry side, whereas the GT100s is more liquid. I find both to be very engaging, but damn if I don't prefer the Macaws.


Ostry KC06



Doing some back-and-forth with the GT100s and the KC06. They're priced similarly, and both IEMs are made by birds, so maybe a good comparison. :p First thing you notice is, as is becoming par for the course, the GT100s is clearer. It makes what is generally considered to be a very clear earphone(the Ostrich) sound a little bit on the stuffy side, exacerbated by the better instrument separation of the Macaws.

A few posts back I said "These things are just soooo clear and they have an almost audible black space between instruments, if that makes any sense", and in reading Twister's review I noticed he experienced the same thing but maybe said it in a way that makes better sense.


You literally hear layering airy effect between sounds.



The KC06 is warmer, bassier, and places vocalists much closer to you. The GT100s has a stronger treble response.


Pros:
Excellent build quality
Very detailed, very clear, vivid and spacious sound
Filter tuning system
Value

Cons:
Potentially uncomfortable
Somewhat difficult to drive from a phone(admittedly I like to use high volumes at work, the gym, the coffee shop etc., so YMMV)
 
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Jun 16, 2015 at 6:39 PM Post #2 of 235

DannyBai

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Way to start a thread on these. I hope people read this and try it for themselves. Unfortunate about the thread coming off. Very odd. Thankfully silvers sound the best imo.
 
Jun 16, 2015 at 7:44 PM Post #6 of 235

jekostas

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The Macaws are awesome, just got mine delivered to me.  Very bright, detailed but not harsh or grating treble.  Bass reaches good and low.
 
 
Also, I could probably beat someone to death with these things and the IEMs would be fine.
 
Jun 16, 2015 at 9:53 PM Post #7 of 235

Selenium

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Eager to hear how they compare to the VSD5.




The VSD5 is bassier, both mid and sub-bass. By a decent margin. The GT100s has better clarity, and not just clarity by way of a lot of treble either. The Gt100s is more detailed with better instrument separation. VSD5 has a bigger soundstage, but the GT100s has excellent, excellent depth. VSD5 is on the dry side, whereas the GT100s is more liquid. I find both to be very engaging, but damn if I don't prefer the Macaws.
 
Jun 16, 2015 at 10:53 PM Post #9 of 235

jekostas

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I've no burn in, so far I prefer Ultimate Ears single flanges.  If you use the stock tips (silicone or foam) you need to make sure to pull them all the way down the nozzle or the Macaws can be very sibilant.  Short, wide bore eartips are no problem.
 
Slightly more coherent thoughts:
 
-Build quality is great except for the cable (somewhat stiff) and the lack of a cable cinch (seriously, why do companies do this?)
-I find comfort fine, but I have gigantic concha compared to most people and very rarely is comfort an issue.
-Tuning nozzles do make a difference in the sound but it's not drastic.  I like the black nozzles as they fill out the mid and sub bass a little.  Even then the bass is punchy and well controlled.
-Tip choice and fitting is paramount.  Long, narrow bore tips can lead to a mess of sibiliance.  Sony Hybrids are definitely a no-go.  If you use stock tips you have to make sure you pull them all the way down over the nozzles.  The stock single flanges and foamies were fine, I'm using UE tips.  Like Selenium I managed to rip one of the tips trying to take it off the nozzle.
 
If I were to describe the sound, I would call it a JVC FXT90 that does everything just that little bit better.  The treble is bright and detailed, but not as harsh.  The mids are detailed and transparent but not quite as thin.  The bass is punchy and controlled but has slightly better texture, especially at the extremes.  The soundstage is wide, deep, airy and the instruments well separated but still forms an (enjoyably) coherent whole.
 
One thing I think the Macaws do much better than the JVC is tonality - the Macaws sound much more "natural" to me compared to the JVC, which could come across as a bit metallic.
 
Jun 17, 2015 at 2:38 AM Post #12 of 235

Selenium

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I've no burn in, so far I prefer Ultimate Ears single flanges.  If you use the stock tips (silicone or foam) you need to make sure to pull them all the way down the nozzle or the Macaws can be very sibilant.  Short, wide bore eartips are no problem.

Slightly more coherent thoughts:

-Build quality is great except for the cable (somewhat stiff) and the lack of a cable cinch (seriously, why do companies do this?)
-I find comfort fine, but I have gigantic concha compared to most people and very rarely is comfort an issue.
-Tuning nozzles do make a difference in the sound but it's not drastic.  I like the black nozzles as they fill out the mid and sub bass a little.  Even then the bass is punchy and well controlled.
-Tip choice and fitting is paramount.  Long, narrow bore tips can lead to a mess of sibiliance.  Sony Hybrids are definitely a no-go.  If you use stock tips you have to make sure you pull them all the way down over the nozzles.  The stock single flanges and foamies were fine, I'm using UE tips.  Like Selenium I managed to rip one of the tips trying to take it off the nozzle.

If I were to describe the sound, I would call it a JVC FXT90 that does everything just that little bit better.  The treble is bright and detailed, but not as harsh.  The mids are detailed and transparent but not quite as thin.  The bass is punchy and controlled but has slightly better texture, especially at the extremes.  The soundstage is wide, deep, airy and the instruments well separated but still forms an (enjoyably) coherent whole.

One thing I think the Macaws do much better than the JVC is tonality - the Macaws sound much more "natural" to me compared to the JVC, which could come across as a bit metallic.


I saw in another thread someone is using twist ties tightly wound to function as a cable cinch. Seems like a good idea, I think I'll try it with these despite not having a problem keeping the cables over my ears(yet). What you say about the tips seems accurate. I've been having a hard time finding the right pair and in switching from a narrow bore to a wide-bored tip the little bit of splashiness I was hearing in a particular track went away.
 
Jun 19, 2015 at 4:04 PM Post #14 of 235

Selenium

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  Seriously no one else interested in these?  These are ******* fantastic headphones.  They make everything else I have sound muddy and veiled by comparison.

I kind of feel the same way. I popped in my KC06 after having listened to these Macaws nearly exclusively since receiving them and was like

 
These things are just soooo clear and they have an almost audible black space between instruments, if that makes any sense.
 
Jun 19, 2015 at 5:11 PM Post #15 of 235

vman

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The VSD5 is bassier, both mid and sub-bass. By a decent margin. The GT100s has better clarity, and not just clarity by way of a lot of treble either. The Gt100s is more detailed with better instrument separation. VSD5 has a bigger soundstage, but the GT100s has excellent, excellent depth. VSD5 is on the dry side, whereas the GT100s is more liquid. I find both to be very engaging, but damn if I don't prefer the Macaws.

 
Thanks...you're really going to make me buy this!
 
Not a fan of the over the ear design though. Is it easy to wear them straight down instead?
 
How forgiving are they of low quality files?
 

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