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Most detailed, accurate, clear, neutral IEMs

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  1. Spyro

    The advancement of multi drivers and crossovers has caused this. For some strange reason, many people are still hung up on single drivers being the only option for an accurate neutral sound. That sound is actually a bit lifeless and one-dimensional compared to the multi-drivers actually providing the more holographic and life life natural presentation. Sort of like comparing 256 pixels to 1080.
  2. tinyman392
    Driver count makes not difference...  If it did, we'd all be using the 20-driver IEMs that The Wizard created that were a proof of concept, but did poorly in terms of sonics (according to The Wizard anyways).  Additionally, You may have 4 total drivers, but they still map out to the same frequency, intensity, time domain as the single drivers...  So you may start with 1080 pixels, they still get mapped to the original 256 (no gain using your analogy). 
    There is no problem with using a single driver...  There is no problem with using a dual driver...  There is no problem with using a hybrid approach.  I'm not attacking the W4 for it's multi-driver design...  I'm stating that it isn't neutral since it isn't.  It's got a warm sound to it and a mid-bass hump that is colored. 
  3. Spyro
    We can agree to disagree.  W3 may have a mid-bass hump but W4 (40) does not or it is so slight in a way where it is not a negative.  
    So multi drivers aren't accurate or neutral?  Not even UERM or JH13?  you don't like those and prefer the ER4 or 272?
  4. SilverEars
    Multi drivers are pretty accurate sonically, just look at joker's ratings.  At the top are multi-driver CIEMs with a few universals, but I think all of them are BA.  
    What Tinyman is saying, number of drivers does not equate to better resolution or sound quality, and he's probably alluding that it colors the sound which I don't fully agree with.  
    For example, UERM only has 3 drivers and to my ears, it's quite neural, resolving, and I would say it is reference level.  This is not just me, but others will tell you the same.  You don't see too many 3 drivers iems that can compete with others up in the list that has lots more drivers.  
    My CK10 has only two, but it is very accurate.
    So basically, it's how the drivers are tuned, not how many there are.
  5. tinyman392
    The W4 can have a veiling sound at times due to the mid-bass... 
    I never said multi-drivers can't be accurate...  You misread my previous post...  I said driver count doesn't matter. 
  6. lostkimi
    Have you ever tried some DUNU products? I recently bought DN2000 and it is by far the most clear and neutral IEM I've ever had. I'm a serious listener and I owned TF10 for 1 year, IE8 for 2years, UE900 for 6 months. 
  7. SilverEars
    Nope, but topping the ones you listed is not too difficult as there are plenty of them that do.  The question is how much better does it top it.  I have to audition it to be sure of it's capabilities.
  8. lostkimi
    Much clearer than IE8 and much more neutral than TF10. I would say it is just slightly inferior to K3003 (not quite fair as I only listened to k3003 for a couple of hrs).
  9. tinyman392
    Out of all the IEMs you've listed, the only one that is remotely close to neutral is the UE-900, and even that still doesn't make the cut due to the dip in the 1 kHz and the recessed treble...  The IE8/80 are both v-shaped as is the TF-10 (according to various members on Head-Fi).  According to how the K3003 measure, they aren't that neutral either... 
  10. higbvuyb
    What physical or biological or psychoacoustic basis supports this?
    The sound from multiple drivers adds up to one sound that goes to one eardrum. (If it doesn't, we call it 'bad crossover design' and it's obvious why)
    The sound from one driver goes to one eardrum.
    tinyman392 likes this.
  11. roy_jones
    Be careful now, you're starting to sound a bit sciency! 
    H20Fidelity likes this.
  12. tinyman392

    And what's the problem with that. He is right though. Regardless of how many drivers you have, it still only spans the audible hearing range. Spyro was making it seem like more drivers would easily sound better because they could span more. Even if they could, it'd be in vain. A single driver that is capable of spanning the hearing spectrum is the minimum you need.
  13. Joelc87
    It all comes down to how they're tuned.  There are some single drivers that sound great, and some multi drivers that sound great.  Likewise there are some multi drivers that sound terrible and some single drivers that sound awful too.  I will agree that more drivers doesn't necessarily mean better sound.  The UERMs are probably the finest I've heard and they only have 3.
    It is true that all the sounds converge onto one eardrum and so in theory only one driver should be necessary.  However due to the physical limitations of different driver types, their ability to fully resolve multiple frequencies simultaneously without introducing distortion is the reason that most multi driver setups are used.  Based on the size and shape of the driver there will be an optimal frequency range and either a spike or roll off at either end of the driver's extremes.  By using multiple drivers with varying frequency ranges, and crossovers that cut out the driver, passing it onto a new one, before it reaches its "inaccurate" range, IEM designers are able to reduce distortion and coloration.
    ThickT likes this.
  14. Spyro
    And single driver BA's cant do that very well at all.   That's my point.
    Either they might get the upper frequencies pretty well (like an Ety) or they might get the lower frequencies...or they are all midrange focused.  But I have yet to hear a single BA that does bass treble and mid well together.  Like a UM1 or W1 or a Shure E3 is just midrange focused (even though one may think they hear some bass and treble in there somewhere.....LOL).
  15. tinyman392
    That's because they are tuned like that...  The tuning of an IEM is more important than the number of drivers... 
    Either way, the IEM you recommended is still not neutral.  An Etymotic favors better with neutrality than the Westone does...  So does the HiFiMan RE-272, even the 400 does (and I don't consider that neutral).  The only BA-based multi (BA)-driver IEMs that I've heard actually go near neutral are dual-drivered (ADDIEM for example).  Actually, the most neutral Westone IEM is actually the W2 (dual-drivered as well). 
    Neutral IEMs generally are much colder because that's the way most music is recorded nowadays, loud...  The compression causes an artificial attenuation of bass and edgy, distorted treble.  That's what the neutral headphone gives you.  Something like the W4, Heir Audio 4.Ai tries to suppress the problem in the treble by warming up the sound (which is why people feel they sound more natural).  They still aren't neutral.  NOT being neutral can be a good thing.  Actually, Harman's research has shown that, for over-ear headphones, a warm signature is preferred among most listeners.
    The OP is looking for a neutral IEM in this case.  Not a warm/natural one. 
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