Microphonics/Comfort: Shure E5 vs. Westone UM2
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roy_jones

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I've read that the Shure E5's are slightly less comfortable than the UM2's due to the angle at which they're inserted...but am looking for a more detailed comparison regarding the issue of comfort and microphonics. For someone looking to use one of these choices for jogging and working out, which is the better choice?

I've read some contradictory things about the memory wire- is it a hindrance, or is it a positive feature? How much of a comfort issue does the E5 raise, with it's different angle of insertion? I assume that the isolation is comparable for both- but will both remain stable while running?

Are the questions about the durability of the UM2's nozzle legitimate? Without the added warranty that the Shure's come with, couple with the fact that I'm going to be buying used, as well the type of use they'll be seeing- should I cross the UM2 off the list?

I believe that the cord on the UM2's are less microphonic, but am assuming they're both relatively acceptable on that level? Does the external cross over of the E5 enhance or detract from the design?

I guess it's hard not to address any sound quality issues between the two. I'm interested in the sonic signature of the UM2, based on second-hand reports...because of the more neutral character and the fact that it seems that it has better treble. I listen to a lot of rock, and prog rock, if you could call it that- Tool, NIN, Radiohead, The Tea Party, Rage, etc...but I also listen to a lot of Trip Hop- like Massive Attack, Tricky, Portishead, etc...I listen to occasional Hip Hop (not much)- Mos Def, Dead Prez, non commercial stuff usually.

I'm concerned about the E5's because of the supposed rolled off treble- but question whether there can truly be as dramatic a difference in the sound between the two as is often made out- due to the similarities of the design. I wonder whether the E5 would be better suited to rock, with the pronounced mid-range, as that makes up about 60-70% of my listening.

I've heard a fair bit about why the UM2 would be considered a better sounding canalphone- but what arguments would be made for the E5? You would think there would be a lot of concrete analysis on this in the archives...but surprisingly there isn't a lot of direct, detailed sound comparisons.
 
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Soundbuff

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I've tried both and like the E5 much more. It is true the wires on the E5 are a little bulky and too long and they are significantly more microphonic than the UM2. You can almost eliminate all microphonics on the E5 by drawing the wires up to your chin, using the supplied cord tightener. Once this is done, you will only hear the sound of your footsteps when walking, which is unavoidable with IEM's. The memory wire is not something I like about the E5, but I put up with it because the E5 frequently amazes me and takes me places no other canalphone has. I would describe the E5 sound as much fuller, richer, three dimensional, detailed, and far mor satisfying and enjoyable to listen to than the UM2.

The UM2 wins for ergonomics. The cord is shorter, and lighter and has virtually no microphonics. The UM2 has more treble, and doesn't sound bad at all, but I always noticed that after 30-40 minutes of listening, the UM2 just couldn't draw me into the music, and I decided to return mine. I really think people on Head-Fi makes WAY too much of the supposedly rolled off treble of the E5. People exagerrate this aspect of the E5 and it's really not that bad or noticeable to me at all - it makes the E5s sound more tubey to me. You can compensate for it using EQ settings, if desired. I don't because it doesn't bother me, and the "slightly" rolled-off treble makes the E5 far less fatiguing to listen to than Etys or even the UM2.

Just my opinion. I love my E5, aside from the slightly bulky apparatus, but nothing is perfect.
 
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DJGeorgeT

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Soundbuff
I really think people on Head-Fi makes WAY too much of the supposedly rolled off treble of the E5. People exagerrate this aspect of the E5 and it's really not that bad or noticeable to me at all - it makes the E5s sound more tubey to me. You can compensate for it using EQ settings, if desired. I don't because it doesn't bother me, and the "slightly" rolled-off treble makes the E5 far less fatiguing to listen to than Etys or even the UM2.


the sound of the um2 is far more balanced than that of the E5. It has a tad bit more treble and there is still a mid frequency hump, but not as pronounced as the E5. The bass is detailed and thumpy while the bass on the E5 can be whimpy at times perhaps because of the forward mids. I usually complain about the E5's treble roll off because it is way too much roll off. I used to get desperate trying to eq the treble on the E5s. EQing the treble on the E5 really does not work great because it makes the mids even harsher. The E5 does sound full and satisfying in some ways, but its severe roll off is just annoying *shrugs* The severe forward mids of the E5 do not always work with some types of music and it is sometimes harsh to my ears. The E5's are not worth the $350 price tag IMHO.
 
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jagger333

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i think there's just a bias here on head-fi against the E5....i've read a majority of the people's reviews sayin that the treble is rolled off or recessed ........those people waaay overexaggerated the treble of E5....the fact is E5 has FAR less rolled off treble than superfis...but there's more posts about E5 with treble roll off or recess treble than superfis....in fact everytime i read the performance of E5...i see recess/rolled off treble next to it....i think its more of a groupthink than anythin else...

i hear a lot of people say E5s has rolled off/recess treble, but in fact superfis has way more rolled off treble (as soon as you listen to it and if you have heard of E4, you would think it doesn't sound right)..people say E5 has bloated mids...i think mids a lot less bloated than the superfis...more than the E4 creating a warmer fuller sound...

from the reviews i thot i was getting a pair of superfis with more bass....i thot great..i'm just goin to return it as soon as it gets here...when i listened to it...it sounds a lot like the E4 with better bass...tho E4 does have a little better treble extension...but its only slightly noticeable...and i doubt UM2 would have better treble than E4...also i read that UM2 has more sibilance than E5...that's somethin that's already annoys me slightly on the E5...i don't think i would be able to take any more sibilance as it is right now..

i think if you have E4 and you like it...you will not be disappointed with E5s
 
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DJGeorgeT

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FYI, the comparison is between um2 and E5 in this thread - not E5 vs. superfi.pro or E4 or what the um2 'might' sound like based on descriptions...you can only form a valid opinion after listening to the cans...

The um2 are not sibilant. What you describe as sibilance on the E5 might just be harsh mids.
 
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jagger333

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DJGeorgeT
FYI, the comparison is between um2 and E5 in this thread - not E5 vs. superfi.pro or E4 or what the um2 'might' sound like based on descriptions...you can only form a valid opinion after listening to the cans...

The um2 are not sibilant. What you describe as sibilance on the E5 might just be harsh mids.



sorry if i gave you the impression of a comparison....i was making a point that people, like you
, tend to overexaggerate on the treble of E5 and i was supportin that point with examples (with superfi and E4)...also i never said anything about what UM2 might sound like...i said i read that UM2 has more sibilance than E5...which is a tread here and a majority have said so...i never formed any opinions about UM2 at all....

no worries since i'm on this headphone craze...i might as well buy a set of UM2 and do some comparison...
 
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hawkfire

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hello,

Well, I strongly disagree with DJGeorgeT and I have both the Shure E5 and the Westone UM2.

I have used the Shure E5 from April 03 and the Westone UM2 since June 03 so I do have a little experience with both IEMS.

The Shures have been returned only once for an unusual cord issue which has not occured again since it was replaced back in July 03.

The Westones on the other hand have been returned FIVE times in the same period and ALWAYS over build issues.

Once for broken cord connection on the right driver, once for a defective right driver directly out of the return box and THREE times for the damned stem coming off. (The most recent being less than a month ago.)

Both being live performance monitors, the Shure is perfect as a replacement for floor wedges.

The Westones do not perform as well IMO due to the soundstage it presents and that is primarily due to the different armature drivers, tuning, and of course passive crossover.

Not to mention the resonance chamber that is present on the Westone UM2 which is not present in the Shure E5 due to the silicone that surrounds the armature drivers and fills the back of the driver casing.

Also, the Westone and Shure high frequency drivers are nothing alike in terms of both design and performance.

What is sad is most people dont realize that the Shures easily outperform the Westones IMO.

But that's my opinion on it and yes, the Westones are high midrange sibilant and the Shures can be as well depending on source and eq settings.
 
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DJGeorgeT

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Quote:

Originally Posted by hawkfire
What is sad is most people dont realize that the Shures easily outperform the Westones IMO.

But that's my opinion on it and yes, the Westones are high midrange sibilant and the Shures can be as well depending on source and eq settings.



Yup, it seems like a lot of people prefer the um2 over the E5
. I have had my um2's over a year now and I have not had problems with their build, perhaps because I maintain them properly and know how to treat them. The um2 is not sibililant with my setup.

IMHO, you should sell your um2 and keep the E5. You don't deserve the good sounds of the um2.
 
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drssyoon

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I've had both as well, currently using UM2s. No problem with build quality except for wires turning green and I think Westone is about to release a general fix for that. They consider it a manufacturing defect and will cover it under warranty. I did not like memory wires on E5s. Sound wise, to my untrained ears, they both sounded heck of a lot better than all the others I've tried - E2, E3, Ety 4P. I chose UM2s based on their ergonomics (easier to put on and take off, thinner wires) and price. I really liked E5s when I had them, but UM2s with custom molds is excellent!
 
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Jmmmmm

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People have said that westone has changed the material they use to attach the stem, so they are no longer as prone to breaking.
 
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rabbitsfoot

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Both are Excellent IEMs, pick your poison. I do prefer the UM2s and have E5's available for use. The Westone UM2s are more comfortable primarily because of the much smaller braided cable-been using mine for over a year-no problem with cabling or ear-pieces breaking, etc. I have accidentally ripped them out of my ears forgetting where I was or some such BS-no problem. I think the Shure E5 cabling will hold up for a much longer time due to its heavier duty design but this comes at a cost of comfort. You could do the cable-mod on the E5s which would make them much better comfort wise IMO. While the UM2s have a bit more apparent high frequency response compared to the Shure E5s, I wouldn't say they were a lot better-just a bit. Never had any problems with either IEM regarding sibilance. Westone was the original manufacturer for the Shure IEMs before Shure moved production of these to Mexico. I've often wondered if the midrange boost applied to the E5 (originally a pro-audio IEM) was a conscious effort to shape this monitors response to be more up-front and defined-qualities that might be helpfull to a performer trying to hear his/her instrument in a dense mix. My jury's still out regarding listening to reproduced music through this same IEM though. Both companies are quite outstanding in supporting their products in case of any problems. I liked the sound of the UM2s just a little bit better (actually for pro IEM use and reproduced music), but I can see why folks like the E5 also.
 
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Soundbuff

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Try both for two weeks. Return the one you like less. I've found that Head-Fi isn't very helpful when you get into subjective aspects of buying decisions. Only you will be able to decide which one you will like more after you try each. Me, I love the E5 more than the UM2. Other people value the UM2 more than the E5. There does seem to be a bias that "UM2 is better" on Head-Fi, but it does not change my impressions and may not reflect yours. Each one has a different sound. If you like more treble and a more nuetral sound, you may prefer the UM2. If you like a warmer sound that may not be as nuetral as the UM2 but is very musical and satisfying (more so to me than the UM2 or Etys) the E5's may be the ticket for you.
 
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tayano

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Quote:

Originally Posted by hawkfire

I have used the Shure E5 from April 03 and the Westone UM2 since June 03 so I do have a little experience with both IEMS.

The Shures have been returned only once for an unusual cord issue which has not occured again since it was replaced back in July 03.

The Westones on the other hand have been returned FIVE times in the same period and ALWAYS over build issues.

Once for broken cord connection on the right driver, once for a defective right driver directly out of the return box and THREE times for the damned stem coming off. (The most recent being less than a month ago.)



strange...
... isn't the warranty of um2 limited to one year ?


If not,it's awsome
 
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Possede

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I don't know how some people are saying that the Shure E5c's can be uncomfortable. I usually wear mine for periods up to 5 hours and I don't even notice they're in! They're very comfortable and once you get accustomed to the "Memory Fit Wire" they are much easier to put in.
 
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