Multi-IEM review v.1: 48 earphones compared
Mar 5, 2010 at 9:57 PM Post #391 of 473
daouda, thanks alot for your impressions. They are detailed, concise, and really help paint a picture of how the two phones sound. I'm just wondering, where do you get the proper foam for the mod? I don't have any old earbuds lying around, so I would have to probably buy some, but am not sure where.
Mar 5, 2010 at 11:09 PM Post #392 of 473
Just do an "earbud foam" search on ebay and you will be overwhelmed by the offers...

By the way, did just a quick little more A/Bing with foam-modded VBs and HJEs, the mids and treble presentations are not really "exactly the same" as i said but still pretty similar. VBs seem to be a little less bright and having a tiny bit more weight in the lower mids compared to HJE which comparatively seem to have a tiny lil bit more in the upper mids. But burn-in and foam quantity could be responsible for some of these differences, so i'll just stick to saying they are pretty similar in these areas, for the moment. Seriously. I wish there were someone else owning both right now to see if they share my opinion, but ive never heard 2 earphones, or 2 stereo systems/amp+speakers, presenting so many similarities in mids and treble presentation (barring soundstage characteristics). Now, i havent really heard many at all....
Mar 6, 2010 at 5:17 AM Post #393 of 473
Decisions, decisions. And it's all your fault daouda!

So it seems that they are similar, but the HJE900 is a bit brighter but warmer compared to the VB which has a bit more low end kick when called for. I would probably just pull the trigger on the VB, except that as I like the grado sound I know that I enjoy a brighter treble. And of course, since I have small ears there is always that chance that the VBs would not fit comfortably - not to mention they seem to have somewhat worse build quality. Decisions, decisions...ah, the joy of searching.
Mar 6, 2010 at 8:43 AM Post #394 of 473
I'm going to go ahead and say that the HJE900s mid bass does seem to control itself somewhat after a while, whether by burn in or getting used to the sound(which I doubt, since my other headphones sound exactly the same). I'm listening to them foamless through sony hybrids right now, which slightly attenuate the treble and give a warmer sound signature, and I don't find them too much lumpier on the mid bass than my PX200-IIs, which are the most neutral headphones I own. When I first tried them, though I didn't mind it, the mid bass hump was clear, though not disturbing, on certain tracks. Maybe it's just my ears though. I always complain about how it seems the bass guitar is mixed at low volumes compared to other instruments in lots of modern rock, so that mid-bass hump helps. But I prefer extension anyday.

They also respond well to EQing when I tried, if you're in to that. Sibilance certianly wears down after usage. At first it was somewhat sibilant on several tracks, now I can only notice it on tracks that are actually sibilant. I can't imagine possibly attenuating the treble anymore than it is now with the hybrids with a foam mod. I'm buying tips with a wider aperture because I miss the less warm sound of the original tips.

EDIT: Another note. Of the headphones I've head so far, the HJE900 are the first to make me really feel I have got to upgrade my source amps equipment blah. I don't enjoy it any less at all, but it makes me realize I can get so much more. Others and I have said, these are really revealing of your source.
Mar 6, 2010 at 9:26 AM Post #395 of 473
Man VB's or HJE900's? Probably VB's just because they are cheaper (I'm trying to stay below $100 on any IEM). Also if they are more spacious/clearer and have deeper bass that would be nice. So many good IEM's in the $40 - $100 range!
Mar 6, 2010 at 4:25 PM Post #396 of 473
Just a quick post to put what i wrote into pespective : I did want to refrain from posting impressions so early, and now I have to temper some of the things I've said : with a better source than Fuze or SOny s639 HPO (FUze+film caps LOD+E5 or uDAC, and FLAC files), the midbass hump on HJE is not nearly as distracting, bass is tighter and more controlled. Aso it does seem that higher mids and treble on HJE are a tiny bit more refined than on VBs, and that is with foam mods on, without foams the difference is most probably substancially bigger. Sounstage also feel more spacious with those sources but still less so compared to VBs which feel more "out of the head" and 3 dimensional. Dynamics in the mids seem a little better in HJE vs VBs with better sources too. It did sound spectacular with those better sources and FLAC files. But even when HJE very slightly beats VBs in certain areas, VBs beats it in other ones, so they still dont feel better to me.

I wouldnt say that Vbs are "clearer" (only so with lesser sources where the HJEs midbass hump can be distracting on complex musics), as the opposite can be said in other cases, but the VBs are definitely more spacious.
In the end, the differences in build quality and price make them represent the same very good value to my eyes.

JxK : i have the smallest ears a regular man can have and I have no problems fitting the VBs.... They are very comfortable, only the cable is springy, tangly, microphonic and rubbery (in short it SUCKS), HJE have a much better and thicker cable and also dont stick as much out of the ear so they wont bother you like VB can when lying your head sideways on a pillow.

Also, I wouldnt say that HJE are warmer than VBs. When you look at the mids only, VBs can feel like they are warmer than HJE's, because they put just slightly more weight in the lower mids and less in the upper mids.
When looking at the whole sonic range, HJE can feel warmer than VBs because of the accentuated midbass.
"Warmth" seems to be a very subjective and relative piece of audiophile jargon anyway....

Also, I beleive that VBs need even more burn in than HJE before being appreciated, so you have to be warned that you will need patience with these IEMs or you will likely feel a lot of frustration in the beginning.

After more focused and relaxed bedtime listening with a quality source (Fuze+flim caps LOD+E5, which, beleive it or not, is uncomparably better sounding than fuze HPO), I have to give the definite edge in SQ to HJE900..... Without even trying hard or A/Bing with extra focused efforts, HJE sound very noticeably better (with a better source) across the whole spectrum compared to VBs, only getting beaten by VBs in bass extension and soundstage spaciousness.
Actually HJE mids sound a little less laid back in the mix compared to VBs, they're more dynamic, fuller, more detailed with better separation, while also more "liquid" and smoother. HJE bass has also more texture and body, and VBs treble/higher mids are noticeably more sibilant.
Those are still "unmatured" impressions but now VBs edge on soundstage and bass extension doesnt seem enough to compensate for the other areas where it gets handily beaten by HJE. The midbass hump that bothered me on HJE from the fuze HPO is not distracting at all from E5+LOD but much tightened and sometimes a welcome enhancement in the mix.
Mar 7, 2010 at 8:59 AM Post #397 of 473
And the pannies strike back! How will the VBs retaliate?! =P. Ahh the joys of A/Bing XD. I'm listenin to my RX700s for the first time in a week or 2... ahh how I missed them. Goodness they're such a great value. Off topic, but watevs
Mar 7, 2010 at 4:22 PM Post #399 of 473
@Napilopez : what made the biggest difference to make me change my mind so drastically was the change of source : from the fuze HPO or fuze HPO+E5 the sloppy midbass hump on HJE was spoiling everything for me... Using my high-quality LOD tightened the bass tremendously, finally allowing HJE qualities to shine through. I know it sounds weird, but i can verify it again and again... I would even say that its not so much the highs reproduction that is affected by source quality on the HJE900 (with foam mod), but the bass! ANd i would also say that with a good source, even 128kbps (yeah i still have some of those) sounded pretty good, albeit with noticeable artefacts, on the HJE.

For the few interested in that comparison, here are the most striking comparative strengths of (both foam-modded) HJEs vs VBs :
HJE : better dynamics, overall smoothness, mids "liquidness", bass texture, build quality
VBs : better soundstage & space, imaging, bass extension & linearity of response (only boosted at the lower end)
Both have a similarly warm tonality, and Im not sure about striking differences in details yet, although HJE seem to picture a more precise timbre for acoustic instruments.
Mar 7, 2010 at 8:23 PM Post #400 of 473
@daouda: thanks for the detailed comparison. It's a nice read. I'm surprised the VBs have better imaging - I thought the Pannies were very good, up there with the best.


Originally Posted by david432111 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Where would the pr100 be on this in terms of sound quality?

I have not done the condensed review of them yet but chances are the PR100 will be a 6-6.5 and the PR200 a 6.5-7.
Mar 7, 2010 at 8:30 PM Post #401 of 473
I might be a lousy imaging judge, and I dont have any IEMs in my ears right now while writing, but it could be that HJE have better imaging inside its less spacious soundstage... However the bigger sense of space provided by the VBs gives a more 3 dimensional feeling of different layers of sounds, allowing the listener to picture a spatial location for these much more convincingly (and this is for me the real 'wow' factor of the VBs, along with their deep rumbling sub-bass)...

However when talking about individual instruments within these layers of sound, the better dynamics and more precise timbre of the HJE can give them (instruments) better separation inside their allocated space if that makes any sense... So which one is better at it depends on what ones mean by "imaging"
Mar 7, 2010 at 9:53 PM Post #402 of 473
Again, thanks for the detailed comparison daouda. After reading it, I'm once again actually leaning toward the VB. Reason being that I will be listening to them through either the clip's HPO or the TBAAM, and according to what you've written neither source would be good enough to bring out the full potential of the HJE900. I'll do some more looking, but so far the VB seem to be the favorite.
Mar 7, 2010 at 10:11 PM Post #403 of 473
So be it, but you have to be warned : if you have (like myself) any special sensitivity to treble harshness and/or sibilance, and dislike excessive brightness, you should be ready for a mandatory foam-mod and very long & intense burn-in sessions.
EDIT : was talking about VBs, but its also valid for HJE which to my ears put out way too much higher mids/treble energy and weight unmodded.
Mar 7, 2010 at 11:03 PM Post #404 of 473
I'll just reiterate that the Sony hybrids do a wonderful job of attenuating treble without killing it on the HJE900, though the sound sig is a bit warmer and slightly more congested than I'd like it to be with them, because of the smaller aperture. I would think they might do the same for the VBs, if they fit. Currently I'm using radioshack auvio tips, which surprised me. They seemed like their shape would make them very prone to falling out, but they are actually the best silicone tips I've used yet at staying in my ear, I guess because of their roughish texture. Very little isolation though(although I don't mind it, I like being aware of my surroundings).
Mar 7, 2010 at 11:03 PM Post #405 of 473
Hah, thanks for the warning. Fortunately, I don't think I'm particularly sensitive to excessive brightness - something my much loved sr60s can attest to.

Edit: for the VBs, can anyone compare the sound differences between stock tips, sony hybrids, and UE single flanges? Same for the HJE900?

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