Multi-IEM Review - 352 IEMs compared (Pump Audio Earphones added 04/03/16 p. 1106)
Nov 24, 2014 at 10:16 PM Post #15,061 of 16,931

ljokerl

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  Hi Joker,
 
What do you think would be a good natural upgrade to the RHA MA750 with a similar signature?
 
Also, have you heard the funktion one speaker systems? can you recommend any iems/headphones which sound the closest to it?
 
thanks

 
The FX850 the way james444 described it (below) 
biggrin.gif
. Otherwise, not sure. Maybe the Dunu DN-1000 if you don't mind moving slightly in a more v-shaped, less smooth direction, or the Sony XBA-H3 for a smoother and more refined (but arguably less clear compared to the Dunu) sound. 
 
 
   
Another vote for the FX850. Unless you're sensitive to forward treble, that is, since the JVCs treble is significantly less laid-back than the H3's. As for the FX750, they're very similar, but the FX850 have slightly better mids presence. Granted, they're still v-shaped, but like vwinter said, it fits in with the imaging and somehow works.
 
There's also an easy mod to attenuate the JVC's bass if desired (don't worry, still plenty of it left :wink: and give their mids even more room to shine.

 
Good stuff, FX850 sounds like a winner.
 
Cool. I ordered the FX850 and ie80. Will return the loser. 

 
Curious which one that'll be.
 
  Hello everyone and specialy to the great "ljokerl". I need your kind assistance.
 
I have been a happy user of the RE-400 and the Ety ER4P for a while and I am ready to upgrade, the question is what to get. I share with you the areas I would like to improve over these excellent IEMs and I am appreciative for your guidance of an IEM for a budget of up to $1,000 (not customs for the moment, just universals) that matches the following criteria as much as possible.
 
In regards with overall "tonality" both the RE-400 and the Etys are perfect for my taste so the overall tonality of the newIEM shall be similar.
 
For guidance on what I like I also have the non-IEMs like Beyer T70p (love the clarity but too sibilant with many recordings), the AKG 550 (love this headphone overall, but lacks some magic) and the grado PS500e (love this one but it is peculiar as it doesn't sound great with all music, maybe too edgy sometimes) and the Beoplay H6 (I love this HP, fantastic all-terrain headphone that plays well all kinds of music, nice balance of clarity and musicality). One HP I hated is the new Sony Z7 that I found muddy, super slow, super bassy and overall extremely unbalanced, dark, and boring. I returned it after a week of trying it.
 
I listen to many types of music, the only thing I don't listen too much is HipHop and country. For the rest I listen to all other genres but mainly Indie, alternative. electronica, americana, punk, rock and then jazz and classical.
 
Treble: I love the treble of the Ety ER4P, so I like the new IEM to match it. Importantly the Ety ER4P is extended but smooth, and will never bother with sibilance. I hate sibilance but I love extended highs and smooth detailed airy high frequencies.
 
Bass: I like better bass presence than the Ety ER4P and the RE-400. I am not a bashed, so the bass has to be extended, with good sub bass but never ever affecting clarity of mids and the overall tonality of the sound. I hate dark thick headphones, I love clarity. I hate slow headphones I love fast headphones with good PRaT. I love fast and "solid" bass, with good extension and never affecting the mids. I hate muddy bass. I love sub-bass but only when the music calls for it.
 
Mids: natural sounding, not too aggressive but not retracted, balanced with the other frequencies ranges. I love the mids of the Ety ER4P, so the new IEM has to at least be as good as the Etys. I love that the vocals are present and natural, not hidden behind the instruments.
 
Soundstage: both the RE-400 and Ethys are limited in soundstage. I like a bit more out of the head soundstage, but natural sounding with enough presence to not feel distant, but neither has to be on your face in between the ears. A good balanace of feeling that the music is around you but still connected with you. I don't like sound that appears to be too distant, not like watching a concert from the 50th row, more like watching from the 5th row.
 
Imaging: I like good imaging and good instrument separation, but shall respect the musicality even of bad recordings. I don't like an IEM that is so technically advanced that reveals all the bad things of recordings so that only great recordings play well. It has to play fine with most music.
 
Clarity: I love the clarity of the Etys and I don't want to give up clarity while maintaining and even enhancing the "musicality". I don't like sterile analytical, I like musical sound but very clear.
 
Cohesivity: the sound has to be natural cohesive. Unfortunately I find many HP where even when the parts (frequency ranges) are fine they don't integrate well overall and sound artificial. It as to sound as music, like a good HiFi speaker.
 
I considered to purchase the InEar StageDiver 2 as it seems that ljokerl has mentioned that it will be a good upgrade over the RE-400, but it seems that it is not in stock at ALO audio, unfortunately. Other IEMs that I am considering are the B&W C5 Series 2, the Weston W60 or W40, the Senheiser IE800, the Shure SE840 or the NuForce Primo8 or some of the new universals from Noble audio. The problem is that I cannot demo these IEMs before purchase so I will have to make a call based on your guidance. Of course I don't need to be limited to these IEMs if you have a different advise or recommendation I will be appreciative.
 
Thank you in advance.

 
Interesting requirements. Not sure I have the solution for you but as a fellow HiFiMan/Etymotic fan I can help you narrow the field.
 
First off, while I haven't tried all of the models you are considering, I haven't found anything to be a full-on upgrade to the ER4 without compromises (especially in the bass qty vs clarity tradeoff). There are more options in customs than universals that do a good job with this, but still not all of them.
 
Now to thin the field a bit...
 
The W40 definitely isn't it - it just doesn't have the same sort of sonic balance. Too much mid-bass and not enough upper mid presence compared to an RE-400 or Ety. The IE800 probably isn't it - it's a rather bassy thing and ends up sounding somewhat v-shaped. It's not really mid-recessed in a bad way, but compared to what you're used to there's a fair chance you'll find it both overwhelmingly bassy and a little unforgiving. The C5 is definitely not it but I can't speak for the Series 2. Maybe it's a 50%+ improvement on the old one.
 
The SD-2 MIGHT work but its signature is definitely more RE-400 than ER4, meaning it's more on the smooth and warm-ish side than strictly neutral and analytical. It doesn't have any coherence or cohesiveness issues and it's just a nice-sounding earphone with noticeable improvements on the RE-400 here and there, but not a 100% match for what you want. The TDK BA200 is a viable budget/mainstream alternative to the SD-2, with similar caveats.
 
A couple of others come to mind but all with their own reservations:
 
The DUNU DN-2000 may be the closest I've heard to a good "analytical" IEM with a sizable bass lift. But again, you do give up some clarity in parts of the spectrum compared to a strictly flat earphone and the very top end is tuned a little brighter.
 
The Audiofly AF180 seems very promising so far and is a little clearer than even the SD-2, but it has a clarity-adding peak somewhere in the treble just like the DN-2000 which might cause issues coming from an ultra-smooth RE-400. Need to spend more time with this one to form a more conclusive opinion.
 
 
  Hi Joker ,
 
have you tried the RE-600 ? any plans on doing a full review here ?

regards.

 
ZapX629 provided the link. I do need to re-write all of my innerfidelity reviews and re-post them here; just haven't found time to do it.
 
Nov 25, 2014 at 10:38 AM Post #15,062 of 16,931

zibra

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Thank you very much. I assume with "SD-2" you mean stage diver-2? I
 
am trying to purchase it but ALO Audio en the USA don't have it at this stage ... very unfortunate. Do you know other vendors to get it from in the USA?

Oh I dont know where to buy it in USA right now but I would still insist on trying it because:
 
these or on cheaper side of iems you mentioned
build quality and comfort
very coherent sound from bottom to top
 
I got best results with small tips - best sound and comfort.
Based on my experience with big headpones and few iems I think listening for analytical purposes would be boring and annoying after some time. I prepefer much more natural sound, quite flat but engaging because of clarity, weight, dynamics and impact.
Just try it at least and give it few days to accomodate your brain to "new sound". Dont compare iems every 15 minutes.
If you wont like it thats ok but you could then describe even better what you need from your next "end of game" iem :wink:
 
One more thing - whats your DAP? Rmember ljokerl is making comparisions on Cowon J3 and hifiman 901 if theres no changes. Anyways if you liked what you heard it should be even better on good DAP.
 
Nov 25, 2014 at 11:49 AM Post #15,063 of 16,931

MrGuzmanWhite

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 There are more options in customs than universals that do a good job with this, but still not all of them.
 
Now to thin the field a bit...
 
The DUNU DN-2000 may be the closest I've heard to a good "analytical" IEM with a sizable bass lift. But again, you do give up some clarity in parts of the spectrum compared to a strictly flat earphone and the very top end is tuned a little brighter.
 
The Audiofly AF180 seems very promising so far and is a little clearer than even the SD-2, but it has a clarity-adding peak somewhere in the treble just like the DN-2000 which might cause issues coming from an ultra-smooth RE-400. Need to spend more time with this one to form a more conclusive opinion.

 
Thank you very much ljokerl, I appreciate your feedback, it is very useful. I guess you have narrowed to two options, the DUNU DN-2000 or the Audiofly AF180 but you are still not fully convinced. You mentioned that there are more options with customs, which custom IEM would you recommend me to get? Maybe it is time for me to go customs 
dt880smile.png

 
Nov 25, 2014 at 12:43 PM Post #15,064 of 16,931

hagge

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joker, WOW! Im impressed, good job!


 


I'm dont know very much about iems and I've realized there is a lot of nice audiphiles in this forum and therefor I'm asking you guys for som help. I've read some of the tread but to be honest, Its a lot of reading!


 


I'm looking for a pair of iems in the pricerange of 40-80$. Im going to use them for my Iphone when I walk and take the bus, therefor they need to have a good isolation. Besides that ofc: good sound and comfortable :) Extra plus if they're new on the market or provided by a well-known brand.


 


Very thankfull for all the help I can get!
 
Nov 25, 2014 at 8:57 PM Post #15,067 of 16,931

MrGuzmanWhite

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One more thing - whats your DAP? Rmember ljokerl is making comparisions on Cowon J3 and hifiman 901 if theres no changes. Anyways if you liked what you heard it should be even better on good DAP.

Thank you for the advise. For IEMs I always used then on the go with my iPhone. I don't have a DAP, don't feel like they are needed and it is a hassle to take. So the SQvhas to be good from the iPhone. At home I use amps and DACs, but at home I use over ear HP!
 
Nov 25, 2014 at 10:42 PM Post #15,068 of 16,931

nick n

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Interesting requirements. Not sure I have the solution for you but as a fellow HiFiMan/Etymotic fan I can help you narrow the field.
 
First off, while I haven't tried all of the models you are considering, I haven't found anything to be a full-on upgrade to the ER4 without compromises (especially in the bass qty vs clarity tradeoff). There are more options in customs than universals that do a good job with this, but still not all of them.
 
Now to thin the field a bit...
 
The W40 definitely isn't it - it just doesn't have the same sort of sonic balance. Too much mid-bass and not enough upper mid presence compared to an RE-400 or Ety. The IE800 probably isn't it - it's a rather bassy thing and ends up sounding somewhat v-shaped. It's not really mid-recessed in a bad way, but compared to what you're used to there's a fair chance you'll find it both overwhelmingly bassy and a little unforgiving. The C5 is definitely not it but I can't speak for the Series 2. Maybe it's a 50%+ improvement on the old one.
 
The SD-2 MIGHT work but its signature is definitely more RE-400 than ER4, meaning it's more on the smooth and warm-ish side than strictly neutral and analytical. It doesn't have any coherence or cohesiveness issues and it's just a nice-sounding earphone with noticeable improvements on the RE-400 here and there, but not a 100% match for what you want. The TDK BA200 is a viable budget/mainstream alternative to the SD-2, with similar caveats.
 
A couple of others come to mind but all with their own reservations:
 
The DUNU DN-2000 may be the closest I've heard to a good "analytical" IEM with a sizable bass lift. But again, you do give up some clarity in parts of the spectrum compared to a strictly flat earphone and the very top end is tuned a little brighter.
 
The Audiofly AF180 seems very promising so far and is a little clearer than even the SD-2, but it has a clarity-adding peak somewhere in the treble just like the DN-2000 which might cause issues coming from an ultra-smooth RE-400. Need to spend more time with this one to form a more conclusive opinion.
 
 
 

Joker : Aside from large soundstage , doesn't J-Phonic K2 SP ( also the M2 I assume ) come reasonably close to that large list of requirements?
 
Nov 26, 2014 at 2:40 AM Post #15,070 of 16,931

ljokerl

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  Oh I dont know where to buy it in USA right now but I would still insist on trying it because:
 
 

 
Otojoy is the official distributor AFAIK: http://otojoyiem.com 
 
Not sure about their marketing, though. "Fits almost perfectly into any ear" sounds like a negative to me
redface.gif
.
 
   
Thank you very much ljokerl, I appreciate your feedback, it is very useful. I guess you have narrowed to two options, the DUNU DN-2000 or the Audiofly AF180 but you are still not fully convinced. You mentioned that there are more options with customs, which custom IEM would you recommend me to get? Maybe it is time for me to go customs 
dt880smile.png

 
Custom Art Pro330v2 comes to mind at the mid-range end of things. At the higher end, Noble 4S and maybe the UM Miracle as well. 
 
  joker, WOW! Im impressed, good job!
   
  I'm dont know very much about iems and I've realized there is a lot of nice audiphiles in this forum and therefor I'm asking you guys for som help. I've read some of the tread but to be honest, Its a lot of reading!
   
  I'm looking for a pair of iems in the pricerange of 40-80$. Im going to use them for my Iphone when I walk and take the bus, therefor they need to have a good isolation. Besides that ofc: good sound and comfortable
smily_headphones1.gif
Extra plus if they're new on the market or provided by a well-known brand.
   
  Very thankfull for all the help I can get!

 
Lots of options depending on the sort of sound tuning you're after. The champ for isolation is the Etymotic Research MC5 (also comes in some headset versions if you need a mic - MC2 and MC3). Very neutral and accurate sound on those, some would say not exciting or bassy enough but great if you value balance and clarity. Fit might take a bit of getting used to but shouldn't be a problem after a week or two, especially if you value the noise isolation. 
 
If you'd rather give up a bit of isolation for a more consumer-oriented sound, the JVC HA-FXD80 and SteelSeries Flux could be solid options (the latter being a bit more comfortable but also "quieter" (easily compensated for) and not as clear . 
 
An option with a bassier sound than the Etymotics but still very good isolation would be the HiSound Audio Crystal, though it fails your well-known brand requirement.
 
  Can anyone, please, advice me the safe source for Klipsch x10 buying? I got one pair on ebay but it was fake.

 
Amazon should be okay but they'll cost you a pretty penny: http://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-Noise-Isolating-Earphone-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B000WAHFBK 
 
  Joker : Aside from large soundstage , doesn't J-Phonic K2 SP ( also the M2 I assume ) come reasonably close to that large list of requirements?

 
Yes, but it's quite difficult to get outside of Japan. 
 
Hello joker. Which has better soundstage? Brainwavz m3 or fidue a63? Have you ever tried the ostry kc06a yet? Which of the three i mentioned is the best sounding if i want a good soundstage?

 
Not 100% sure as it's been a while since I've heard the M3, but my gut feel is the M3 and A63 are similar in that regard. Haven't tried the KC06A but my experience with the KC06 leads me to believe that it will have a larger soundstage than the A63/M3.
 
Nov 26, 2014 at 7:44 AM Post #15,071 of 16,931

Ruben123

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Hello Joker
I have a Q for you. User Hisoundfi recommended me the Soundmagic E30s and I think he's right, but since you know so many IEMs... Id like you opinion.
Looking for best details and a balanced sound for $20-40. I love my Monoprices, so Im looking for an upgrade which somehow sounds the same. I listen classical mostly and dont really bother about bass, micrrophonics and isolation. What do you say?
 
Nov 26, 2014 at 2:59 PM Post #15,072 of 16,931

MrGuzmanWhite

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Custom Art Pro330v2 comes to mind at the mid-range end of things. At the higher end, Noble 4S and maybe the UM Miracle as well. 

Thank you a lot. I think there is a universal version of the Noble 4S that you rated so high in your reviews. At the Noble audio website I can see they have a Noble 4, that I assume is identical in SQ and signature to the Noble 4S or 4C. If this is the case it may be a very compelling option for a mid range/cost IEM with top level SQ and a neutral balanced presentation, as an improvement to the RE-400 and the Ety ER4P. It seems that the Noble 4 is $450 while the 4S is $999, there is so much difference that perhaps thera re more changes and it is just not the equal between universal and custom.
 
Does anyone know if the Noble 4 is the universal version of the Noble 4S and have the same SQ?
 
Both are described as identically at the Noble site
 
From Noble audio on the Noble 4  and Noble 4S:
The Noble 4 is a neutral sounding product designed to appeal to those who desire a flatter frequency response. An update from the Wizard’s original four-driver design, the Noble 4 lacks the controversial dip in the high frequency region. The smooth, flat, sound makes for an ideal pairing with vocal, acoustic, and classical music.

 
If they are the same I may just get the universal Noble 4 now ...
 
Nov 26, 2014 at 3:35 PM Post #15,073 of 16,931

kova4a

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  Thank you a lot. I think there is a universal version of the Noble 4S that you rated so high in your reviews. At the Noble audio website I can see they have a Noble 4, that I assume is identical in SQ and signature to the Noble 4S or 4C. If this is the case it may be a very compelling option for a mid range/cost IEM with top level SQ and a neutral balanced presentation, as an improvement to the RE-400 and the Ety ER4P. It seems that the Noble 4 is $450 while the 4S is $999, there is so much difference that perhaps thera re more changes and it is just not the equal between universal and custom.
 
Does anyone know if the Noble 4 is the universal version of the Noble 4S and have the same SQ?
 
Both are described as identically at the Noble site
 
 
If they are the same I may just get the universal Noble 4 now ...

They have the exact same internals without any difference if you wonder whether the custom versions are more special inside. Of course, ciems are harder to make and customize so this raises the price, especially silicone ones like the 4S. Haven't heard the 4S but they shouldn't be too far apart aside from isolation and fit, which of course can affect the sound to some degree. Anyway, the universal version is pretty good and with the 15% Black Friday discount is a very good buy if one is looking for balanced and neutral sound. 
 
Nov 27, 2014 at 12:36 AM Post #15,074 of 16,931

ljokerl

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Hello Joker
I have a Q for you. User Hisoundfi recommended me the Soundmagic E30s and I think he's right, but since you know so many IEMs... Id like you opinion.
Looking for best details and a balanced sound for $20-40. I love my Monoprices, so Im looking for an upgrade which somehow sounds the same. I listen classical mostly and dont really bother about bass, micrrophonics and isolation. What do you say?

 
I am not sure the E30 is an upgrade from the Monoprice in performance so much as it is a slightly different take on a balanced sound. However, it does have a nicer form factor and you'll likely enjoy using it a whole lot more.
 
  Thank you a lot. I think there is a universal version of the Noble 4S that you rated so high in your reviews. At the Noble audio website I can see they have a Noble 4, that I assume is identical in SQ and signature to the Noble 4S or 4C. If this is the case it may be a very compelling option for a mid range/cost IEM with top level SQ and a neutral balanced presentation, as an improvement to the RE-400 and the Ety ER4P. It seems that the Noble 4 is $450 while the 4S is $999, there is so much difference that perhaps thera re more changes and it is just not the equal between universal and custom.
 
Does anyone know if the Noble 4 is the universal version of the Noble 4S and have the same SQ?
 
Both are described as identically at the Noble site
 
 
If they are the same I may just get the universal Noble 4 now ...

 
I haven't tried the universal Noble 4 myself. I did try the 6 but it has a very different sound signature that won't work for you.
 
Nov 27, 2014 at 1:59 AM Post #15,075 of 16,931

Ruben123

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I am not sure the E30 is an upgrade from the Monoprice in performance so much as it is a slightly different take on a balanced sound. However, it does have a nicer form factor and you'll likely enjoy using it a whole lot more.
 
 
I haven't tried the universal Noble 4 myself. I did try the 6 but it has a very different sound signature that won't work for you.


Thanks a lot. I know the Monoprices have bass in quantity but not in quality, and the treble's not the best. Do the Soundmagics fix those parts and with more detail? Do you have other recommendations in that price catagory? Predecessor PL30 maybe at $10 lower for example?
 

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