Mile high fi........
post-7644883
Thread Starter
Post #1 of 14

CJG888

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Messages
2,033
Reaction score
353
Location
Braunschweig
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Location
Braunschweig
Posts
2,033
Likes
353
I suppose this is a fairly obvious one, but has anyone given some lateral thought to the issue of an in-flight optimized system? Just as food and wines taste remarkably different at 33,000ft (cabin pressure, low air humidity etc.), it stands to reason that headphones will sound different under these conditions (and the business of isolating constant background noise becomes almost as important as the sound quality itself). As someone who flies a fair bit (usually between Shanghai and Beijing), I have tried various approaches to achieving something approaching musical enjoyment (clearly, taking along my HD600s is not practical):
 
First out of the window were "sound cancelling" headphones. I used to use Sennheiser PXC250s, but they just substituted one sort of constant background noise with another at a different frequency. Oh, and they sounded bl**dy awful! Back home, I wouldn't dream of using a preamp with tone controls or connecting my DAC to my CD transport using Toslink, so how can all this extra complex circuitry and processing aid accurate reproduction?
 
Next up were IEMS, Etymotic ER6is to be precise. Using Ety's tips, I couldn't get a proper seal, and they had no bass whatsoever. Plus, I couldn't tolerate something that far insde my auditory canal for more than about 15 minutes. With Shure tips they can achieve a reasonable seal, but the bass is still weak, and the treble sounds grainy.
 
The best result so far has been with my trusty Denon AH-D1001s, but they are too bulky and fragile for travelling, and they develop a nasty "cuppy" resonance, especially when sitting in a window seat (particularly one near the engines or the A/C ducting). And they only slightly attenuate the background noise - they give an accurate picture of a jazz quartet playing on a B777!
 
So, having dismissed active noise cancellation, I suppose universal IEMs are the way to go (At this stage, I would like to avoid the hassle and expense of obtaining custom fit IEMs here in China). Can anyone recommend a universal IEM priced at around GBP100 that will give a detailed, lucid sound, decent soundstaging and bass (in moderation), whilst not requiring semi-surgical insertion like the Etys? I had thought along the lines of the Shure SE215 or SE315.
 
Source is either an iPod Classic 160GB plus Meier Audio Corda XXS (via Qables LOD), or (usually, these days) a QLS QA350 MOD V2 (which I cannot recommend too highly).
 
     Share This Post       
post-7645690
Post #2 of 14

tomscy2000

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Messages
5,905
Reaction score
2,220
Location
On Hiatus
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Location
On Hiatus
Posts
5,905
Likes
2,220
The invasive probing that is the Etymotic fit doesn't feel too good for most people, but the deep fit is what offers that class-leading sound isolation. Not even custom IEMs provide the kind of isolation you can find in an Etymotic.
 
You may want to switch out to Complys or Shure Olive tips for better comfort, and take the edge off overly bright treble.
 
You're on the right track with the new Shure line, although you can also try Westones out (e.g. Westone 2) for equal measure. I find that Westones isolate marginally better than Shures. The SE215 has a fairly balanced sound but is still mid-centric overall, and I don't know what the SE315 sounds like, but if it's anything like the SE310, I'd probably stick with the more affordable SE215. Although I haven't heard them personally, you can also try the Audeo PFEs. They have the same analytical style as Etymotic, but are said to be a more interesting listen.
 
Since you're residing in China, I'll just lastly throw out the GR07 as a suggestion because you can probably find it for a good price ( <$150 USD). It's not absolutely ideal for airplanes because it's vented, but it isolates decently well (slightly above average for IEMs and better than any superaural headphone) and has a sound that is not dissimilar to the HD600. Perhaps the venting will even help in equalizing ear-to-cabin pressure. The sound of the GR07 is tuned for long periods of listening without fatigue and is exceptionally comfortable for a dynamic driver IEM.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7646639
Post #3 of 14

CJG888

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Messages
2,033
Reaction score
353
Location
Braunschweig
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Location
Braunschweig
Posts
2,033
Likes
353
Thanks for the heads-up! Just three questions about the GR07, though (as this looks like an intriguing option, and they're made over here):
 
- Can they be fitted with Shure Black Olives? I've read that the standard tips aren't too good, and the Shures are very comfortable (and I have stocked up on them).
- You say they are vented. Does this mean that they have a kind of bass reflex arrangement, or that the pressure either side of the diaphragm is equalized via a vent. In the latter case, I suppose it might even be BETTER for in-flight applications..... A problem I've found is what happens when you have an IEM sealed in you ear and the cabin pressure changes!
- How would you say the sound quality compares with the ER6is? Clearly, anything that even approaches the HD600s gets my vote :)
 
Finally, what is your view on the RE0s (which I presume the QLS will drive, as it is capable of driving the HD600s reasonably well) and the Monster Turbine Coppers?
 
     Share This Post       
post-7646746
Post #4 of 14

Sar Ar Qua

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 9, 2011
Messages
6
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jul 9, 2011
Posts
6
Likes
10
I think you can first try a pair of RE0, since they are half the price of GR07 if I remembered correctly.
I got mine for $499 RMB.
I think it isolates well when music is playing. Normally I have trouble understanding someone if they tried to speak to me with my RE0 in my ears.
RE0 is my current decent IEM. I feel that because it isolates well, there seems to be more microphonics (compared to my iBud).
IMO, I think RE0 is a laid-back IEM, it doesn't perform anything very well nor very bad (I feel that instruments sounds better than vocal).
 
     Share This Post       
post-7646751
Post #5 of 14

tomscy2000

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Messages
5,905
Reaction score
2,220
Location
On Hiatus
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Location
On Hiatus
Posts
5,905
Likes
2,220
Some people have fitted them with the Olives, but I don't know how they did it without considerable stress to the plastic core. I personally use Sony Hybrids on them and they work well. They also come with foam tips, but they're not of great quality. I've heard that Monster foam Supertips also work well, but I gave my set of Supertips away as a present and haven't tried them on my GR07.
 
They are vented via two small holes on either side of the tranvsersely mounted driver, presumably to equalize the pressure on either side of the diaphragm. It shouldn't be a bass reflex design AFAIK. If you're curious about the design of the GR07, the VSonic website has an amusing video that gives you an exploded view of the innards of a GR07. I find that the GR07 doesn't have that hermetic seal (that you might feel in an Etymotic or similarly sealed IEM) and feels more comfortable that way.
 
They should be superior in SQ to the ER6i. I can't really make a direct comparison as they're not similar in sound signature and use different type drivers, but the GR07 is on its way to being regarded as one of the best (not necessarily the absolute best) dynamic driver IEMs around. It will have better bass impact than the ER6i, but it is no bass monster or anything of the sort. But it does have enough quantity to be satisfying (to me, at least) while still maintaining a good deal of control. There is little to no bass bleed into the mids, and the speed is very quick for a dynamic driver IEM. The mids are very slightly warm, and are neither forward nor recessed. The treble can cause some tendency to be sibilant, but gets better after 100+ hours of burn-in. It is designed as a stage monitor, and thus is very detailed throughout its frequency response, quite neutral, and is well extended on both ends. It's not the most dynamic sounding IEM, less so than an FX700, but good enough not to be boring. I find all Etymotics to be boring, with the exception of the ER4.
 
I can go on and on about the GR07, but there's already quite a bit of praise on the numerous threads in the forum, so just do a simple search and you'll find mountains of currently rabid fans. Yes, it's one of the FOTMs around, but I'm quite certain it has long term appeal as well. Basically, it does everything well (but not the best at any one thing), and very few things poorly. Obviously, it's not going to be as good as an HD600, but what IEM is? I made the comparison since both are well balanced, detailed, neutral sounding headphones.
 
I have not heard the RE0s, but they should have no problem being well driven from portable sources given any amp. They are much more of an analytical sounding IEM. They'll impart slightly better detail, especially in the treble, but they have a reputation of sounding slightly boring. On a cost-to-performance ratio scale, it will be better as it is only about $80 USD. However, the GR07 is probably the better package overall, with better ergonomics.
 
The MTPC is a more fun-sounding IEM than everything else mentioned here, and remains to this day my favorite Monster IEM. If you can find a nice price for them (given that they're not fakes), then they're a nice choice. They are usually more expensive, though, especially in Asia. Completely made of metal, they'll feel a little heavy in your ears if you don't wear them over the ear with ear guides, but being a completely sealed IEM they'll probably provide better isolation than the GR07 if you use Supertips. They also have a great warranty, if that's a priority for you. Personally, I find the GR07 to be slightly superior in sound quality.
 
If you want to research more, look up ClieOS's threads or Joker's thread. They're both great resources.
 
Quote:
Thanks for the heads-up! Just three questions about the GR07, though (as this looks like an intriguing option, and they're made over here):
 
- Can they be fitted with Shure Black Olives? I've read that the standard tips aren't too good, and the Shures are very comfortable (and I have stocked up on them).
- You say they are vented. Does this mean that they have a kind of bass reflex arrangement, or that the pressure either side of the diaphragm is equalized via a vent. In the latter case, I suppose it might even be BETTER for in-flight applications..... A problem I've found is what happens when you have an IEM sealed in you ear and the cabin pressure changes!
- How would you say the sound quality compares with the ER6is? Clearly, anything that even approaches the HD600s gets my vote :)
 
Finally, what is your view on the RE0s (which I presume the QLS will drive, as it is capable of driving the HD600s reasonably well) and the Monster Turbine Coppers?


 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7649593
Post #6 of 14

CJG888

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Messages
2,033
Reaction score
353
Location
Braunschweig
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Location
Braunschweig
Posts
2,033
Likes
353
Have been offered a pair of GR07s for RMB 650 (approx USD 100) by a trusted supplier in Shenzhen (including delivery to Shanghai) - I presume this is a fair price. Looks like they must be worth a try. I'm charging up the QLS in anticipation
 - may even use them on the LD Mk III for a bit (instead of the HD600s), to break them in.
 
BTW: where can I buy the Sony green hybrid tips (either in the UK or China)? I presume the stock ones are OK to get going with - alternatively I can "modify" some Olives with a little help from a warm soldering iron.......but will they come off again afterwards????
 
     Share This Post       
post-7649628
Post #7 of 14

tomscy2000

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Messages
5,905
Reaction score
2,220
Location
On Hiatus
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Location
On Hiatus
Posts
5,905
Likes
2,220
I don't know if it's a good price for the Chinese domestic market, but that is a really good price compared to any price you can get from overseas. It used to be $155 USD from authorized dealer LendMeUrEars in Singapore, but VSonic decided to up the price recently to $179 or so because of too much demand, not enough supply, and extremely good perceived value.
 
I presume you can buy the Sony Hybrids from an official SonyStyle store (there should be at least one in Shanghai), and if they don't hold it, I assume they'll be able to order it for you or at least point you in the right direction. Or, you can go for the imitation hybrids, which are all over Taobao. If you don't want to mess with your Shure Olives, you can try the foam tips that come with the GR07 at first --- some people like them, but they're not exactly my favorite, and they're pretty flimsy.
 
You'll need quite a bit of burn-in for the GR07 for it to sound its best --- at the very least 100 hours; most people burn-in to 150-250 before they feel the GR07 has reached its performance peak. Thus, don't expect heavenly sound from it out of the box.
 
Quote:
Have been offered a pair of GR07s for RMB 650 (approx USD 100) by a trusted supplier in Shenzhen (including delivery to Shanghai) - I presume this is a fair price. Looks like they must be worth a try. I'm charging up the QLS in anticipation
 - may even use them on the LD Mk III for a bit (instead of the HD600s), to break them in.
 
BTW: where can I buy the Sony green hybrid tips (either in the UK or China)? I presume the stock ones are OK to get going with - alternatively I can "modify" some Olives with a little help from a warm soldering iron.......but will they come off again afterwards????


 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7656607
Post #8 of 14

CJG888

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Messages
2,033
Reaction score
353
Location
Braunschweig
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Location
Braunschweig
Posts
2,033
Likes
353
Thank you for the recommendation. The GR07s arrived today, and I was quite impressed by first impressions (straight out of the box, connected to the headphone output of my QLS QA350). Clearly, they need some burning in, and the treble is currently a little unrefined and "splashy". Other than that, I had no idea that IEMs could have bass and soundstaging like that. It shows that my old ER6is were simply the wrong choice....
 
I am currently using the stock foam pads (the only ones which are remotely comfortable), and have a set of Sony Hybrids on order.
 
On the whole, about 70% of the HD600s, only much easier to drive, suitable for inflight use, and very compact.
 
I'll give an update after the first 100 or so hours of use.
 
 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7656809
Post #9 of 14

Sar Ar Qua

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 9, 2011
Messages
6
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jul 9, 2011
Posts
6
Likes
10
Is it possible for you to recommend your dealer to me? 650 RMB is a very very good price. PM me if you do not wish to disclose it to public

I just bought my GR07 tonight in Taiwan at the usual price, but I am thinking of buying a 2nd one as my sister's birthday present.
I currently enjoy it, I like the isolation and comfort better than RE0 (I feel it was a tad too much isolation, which causes more microphonics).
Quote:
Have been offered a pair of GR07s for RMB 650 (approx USD 100) by a trusted supplier in Shenzhen (including delivery to Shanghai) - I presume this is a fair price. Looks like they must be worth a try. I'm charging up the QLS in anticipation
 - may even use them on the LD Mk III for a bit (instead of the HD600s), to break them in.
 
BTW: where can I buy the Sony green hybrid tips (either in the UK or China)? I presume the stock ones are OK to get going with - alternatively I can "modify" some Olives with a little help from a warm soldering iron.......but will they come off again afterwards????


 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7657963
Post #10 of 14

tomscy2000

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Messages
5,905
Reaction score
2,220
Location
On Hiatus
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Location
On Hiatus
Posts
5,905
Likes
2,220
He got it for an incredible price, but on the whole the GR07 is slightly cheaper than the norm in Taiwan if you can find the right importer. They're kind of rare. Had I not already ordered them from LMUE before I saw the prices, I would've bought them locally.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7658049
Post #11 of 14

tomscy2000

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Messages
5,905
Reaction score
2,220
Location
On Hiatus
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Location
On Hiatus
Posts
5,905
Likes
2,220
The treble of the GR07 is the portion that undergoes the most change over the period of burn-in for most people. It'll definitely get better, so if you already think they sound good, you're in for a treat. IEMs have come a long way, especially dynamic driver ones. The ER6i is one of the older IEMs out there, and the single BA design is just not up to snuff compared to the ones out there today. Enjoy.
 
Quote:
Thank you for the recommendation. The GR07s arrived today, and I was quite impressed by first impressions (straight out of the box, connected to the headphone output of my QLS QA350). Clearly, they need some burning in, and the treble is currently a little unrefined and "splashy". Other than that, I had no idea that IEMs could have bass and soundstaging like that. It shows that my old ER6is were simply the wrong choice....


 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7658263
Post #12 of 14

utkusu

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 8, 2009
Messages
209
Reaction score
10
Joined
Oct 8, 2009
Posts
209
Likes
10
Just my two cents: I thought Brainwavz M2s sounded like CAL!s (D1001).
 
     Share This Post       
post-7669429
Post #13 of 14

CJG888

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Messages
2,033
Reaction score
353
Location
Braunschweig
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Location
Braunschweig
Posts
2,033
Likes
353
About 60 hours' worth of burn-in now, already sounding MUCH better (more even, transparent treble with less grain and "edginess"). The bass is also sounding more extended and less forced.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7670764
Post #14 of 14

tomscy2000

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Messages
5,905
Reaction score
2,220
Location
On Hiatus
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Location
On Hiatus
Posts
5,905
Likes
2,220
Yep... sounds about right. Most people have the same experience with the burn-in process. It becomes a more subtle refinement in SQ from here on to 150-200 hours.
 
     Share This Post       

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top