Precog's IEM Reviews & Impressions
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:scream:

I thought we were friends precog... I feel betrayed!

*cries in Elvish*
Sorry man, but don't worry! You can cry yourself to sleep with your IER-Z1R. Or your Odin. Or your Andro MW10. Or you know, (insert any other one of your flagship IEMs here) ahaha

I couldn’t disagree more with this description of the erlky, heh. This piece was a revolution in sound for me.

Which are your favorite iems?

Sorry you didn’t enjoy the erlky more, bud!
Yeah, I think the VE house-sound just isn't my thing. Off the top of my head my favorite IEMs are the IER-Z1R, U12t, and Nio :)
 
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Damn how have I not come across this thread before - awesome impressions dude, subbed!

Agreed on the Erl though - I found it to be very classy, refined and respectable, but I couldn't really get excited by anything playing
 
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Sorry man, but don't worry! You can cry yourself to sleep with your IER-Z1R. Or your Odin. Or your Andro MW10. Or you know, (insert any other one of your flagship IEMs here) ahaha



Yeah, I think the VE house-sound just isn't my thing. Off the top of my head my favorite IEMs are the IER-Z1R, U12t, and Nio :)
gotcha, thx for sharing your favorites.

should be picking up a z1r from local hf seller on tuesday. very excited to hear it!
 
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Feels like I've been posting quite a bit lately, but need to get this one down before I forget! I met up with a friend earlier today and got to demo some of the new DUNU stuff. Now, DUNU is a company that I'm quite fond of; however, I've consistently found that their IEMs are not for me. The DK-3001 Pro? Severely lacking in treble extension which utterly kills the timbre. The DK-2001? Too forward in the upper-mids. The Luna? Metallic timbre and roll-off on both ends.

DUNU SA3
dunu-sa3_st.png
...and yeah, this is a good example of what I'm talking about. The SA3's tuning is a garbled mess. The culprit? Mostly the midrange. It inexplicably manages to sound upper-mids forward and sucked out at the same time. Other parts of the frequency response don't fare much better with bass sounding characteristically BA and treble rolling off way too early. Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and indeed, describing what went wrong here is even more difficult than it is actually hearing it. Let's just say it's all my issues with DUNU's IEMs rolled into one.

DUNU SA6
dunu-sa6_st.png
Now, the shocker: The SA6 is, dare I say, very good. The tonal balance is almost spot-on, following something of a U-shape that harkens of the 64A U12t's frequency response, particularly in the bass. And oh my, quite good bass it is. It could just be the SA6 hitting my preferences very closely, but transient attack seems very controlled due to the sub-bass emphasis, and dynamic slam and texturing are present in moderation which I can't say for most BA IEMs. I do prefer the SA6 with the switch 'off' though, as 'on' the response's plasticky behavior begins presenting itself more strongly. Moving into the midrange, the pinna compensation is right where I like it; however, there does seem to be something of a bump to the upper-midrange. Thankfully, it's not at the expense of grain - it's just bright - and treble seems quite linear sans the impact regions and in those final octaves of extension. The SA6 is also a competent technical performer thanks to the upper-midrange bump, and notably, diffusal of the image is present which the DK3001 Pro sorely lacked. I do find the SA6 to struggle with layering, as stuff in the center image sounds a bit cramped with staging distribution lacking. It could also use with better dynamics; there is an upward skew that clashes poorly with the upper-midrange bump not unlike the EE Odin. Nonetheless, it's safe to say this is the best release from DUNU yet, and while I dislike hyping stuff, I really think this is one well-worth listening to. I'll let the preference score speak for itself. Just couldn't stop coming back to it while trying my friend's other IEMs, and I need to get in a demo unit for further evaluation.

Oh right - I'm a dummy and forgot to take pics. But I really liked the design, and of course you get DUNU's terrific modular cable.

Score (SA3): 2/10
Score (SA6): 7/10


Edit: updated w/ graphs
 
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Precogvision

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MMR Thummim and Homunculus Impressions

So, uh, yeah...these showed up today. I'll be blunt - they're disappointing. Very, very disappointing.

MMR Thummim.jpg

Starting with the Thummim, tonal issues aside, what strikes me most is just how damn slow this thing is. Transient speed is comparable to the Shure SE215, possibly one of the slowest IEMs I've heard. Bass is supposed to be mid-bass oriented, but as you can see from the graph, the channels don't really match. Not that it matters, of course, given how blunted and bloated the bass is alone. The midrange is probably the worst part of this tuning, sounding somewhere between sucked out and running hot. Treble is rolled-off hard like most poor EST implementations. And sadly, it's not like the Thummim even has the staging or technical chops to save itself either. Macro-dynamics are dampened. Imaging is fairly average sans some decent diffusal of the image, and the Thummim is not holographic by a long shot. I really don't know where all the talk about the mind-boggling imaging came from. Maybe the 2.5-4.5kHz dip?

Regardless, I can't tell what's more fatiguing - the Tesla-truck shells or listening to how awful this thing has been tuned.

MMR Homunculus.jpg

The first thing that struck me as weird on the Homunculus was the midrange. It just didn't sound any sort of right to my ears with one side clearly sounding different. So I slapped it on my coupler...and lo and behold, sans exhibiting an egregious, fat dip, there's also a pretty significant channel imbalance in this region. Speaking of the dip, I enjoy a dip in my upper-midrange, but oh man, not like this. Telephonic, underwater, sucked-out, name any similar adjective and it'll do aptly to describe the Homunculus. Resolution is also completely screwed in the midrange as a result. But since when was I ever one to be a debbie-downer? Looking on the bright side, I guess you could say the Homunculus serves as demonstration of value for the Thummim, if only by virtue of how much worse it is.

Usual disclaimers: I know how bad these impressions sound. Friendly reminder that they're impressions, and I'm not asking you to hear what I hear (as a matter of fact, I wouldn't wish that on anyone with these little gems). I measured both of them several times off my coupler to make sure I was getting consistent results. Frankly, I don't think the tips, cable, or any amount of 'seasoning' are going to save these IEMs - furthermore, I'd argue that a company that can't take the time to get consistent channel matching on units they're sending out for review doesn't really merit my time. But for posterity all listening was done using the stock Elotech cables, stock tips, and an A&K SP1000M.

Score (Thummim): 2/10
Score (Homunculus): 1/10


Noble Sultan impressions tomorrow if I have time to write something up.
 
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I also found the Thummim largely underwhelming, so much to the point that I didn’t even post any impressions. The $4500 price tag for them is straight up offensive. I did hear a pretty “big” stage only in the extremes of the sound but the placement of instruments overall was a mess and it all just sounded congested and muddy to me.

Genuinely prefer my AirPods Pro to them.
 
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I also found the Thummim largely underwhelming, so much to the point that I didn’t even post any impressions. The $4500 price tag for them is straight up offensive. I did hear a pretty “big” stage only in the extremes of the sound but the placement of instruments overall was a mess and it all just sounded congested and muddy to me.

Genuinely prefer my AirPods Pro to them.
Honestly, this is one thing that makes me so wary of summit-fi products. If I spent $300-$500 on an IEM, and it was unique, with a sound signature that was polarizing, but one that I like a lot, reading bad reviews and negative impressions from those for whom the sound just didn’t fit, wouldn’t really bother me. Even though I know that how it sounds to me personally is all that really matters, if I spent $4500 on that item, I couldn’t help but feel bad, even though I liked it. In general, I’d like to think that most of us are kind, and don’t like to unnecessarily hurt others‘ feelings, thus I would be in the camp that if I really didn’t like it, I would just not say anything, unless a potential buyer asked me specifically for my opinion on that product. But do you think this desire not to hurt feelings ends up perpetuating the cycle of unjustified prices? It’s a tough balance IMHO.
 
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aaf evo

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Honestly, this is one thing that makes me so wary of summit-fi products. If I spent $300-$500 on an IEM, and it was unique, with a sound signature that was polarizing, but one that I like a lot, reading bad reviews and negative impressions from those for whom the sound just didn’t fit, wouldn’t really bother me. Even though I know that how it sounds to me personally is all that really matters, if I spent $4500 on that item, I couldn’t help but feel bad, even though I liked it. In general, I’d like to think that most of us are kind, and don’t like to unnecessarily hurt others‘ feelings, thus I would be in the camp that if I really didn’t like it, I would just not say anything, unless a potential buyer asked me specifically for my opinion on that product. But do you think this desire not to hurt feelings ends up perpetuating the cycle of unjustified prices? It’s a tough balance IMHO.
The main reason I didn’t care to post much on the Thummim is that there are loads of varying opinions out there already. I pretty much heard exactly what Precogvision did, which is why I commented to begin with because it was basically just adding a +1 to his review to echo my own thoughts.

Maybe I should have said something because there’s A LOT of praise for the Thummim that I just couldn’t quite grasp myself, but that’s the beauty of this hobby. We all hear things differently and have different tastes. At the end of the day getting them in your own ears is the only way to decide for yourself.
 
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People's feelings being so wrapped-up in inanimate objects they buy will always be weird to me, and people getting mad online about their hobby likewise is strange. :shrug: YMMV.

I appreciate Precog's brutal honesty. If nothing else, it's a nice palate cleanser after reading all the worshipful "reviews." Again, I get it: YMMV.
 
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Do these reviews use pricing as one of the factors to come up with a score? Sorry this might be mentioned somewhere in your posts @Precogvision , I've read most of them since these are good reads. Just wondering if these are supposed to read like Sony MH755 being "better" than a bunch of TOTL IEMs in a place where money doesn't matter, or if everything is valued according to their retail price. (PS I haven't even tried any of the "four figure" offerings)
 
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Honestly, this is one thing that makes me so wary of summit-fi products. If I spent $300-$500 on an IEM, and it was unique, with a sound signature that was polarizing, but one that I like a lot, reading bad reviews and negative impressions from those for whom the sound just didn’t fit, wouldn’t really bother me. Even though I know that how it sounds to me personally is all that really matters, if I spent $4500 on that item, I couldn’t help but feel bad, even though I liked it. In general, I’d like to think that most of us are kind, and don’t like to unnecessarily hurt others‘ feelings, thus I would be in the camp that if I really didn’t like it, I would just not say anything, unless a potential buyer asked me specifically for my opinion on that product. But do you think this desire not to hurt feelings ends up perpetuating the cycle of unjustified prices? It’s a tough balance IMHO.
I see negative impressions as not meant to hurt other's feelings, but rather to inform. Personally I'm tired of headfi hype threads parroting the same generically positive impressions over and over. I've followed a few of those threads over the years for products I was unable to demo, ended buying and being thoroughly disappointed. So I actually do appreciate the opposing view, as even at summit-fi, having tried many of those pieces myself, they all still do have weaknesses, just way fewer of them, but at the end of the day I would still like to know those weaknesses if I was a potential buyer so I'd be better able to avoid the weaknesses that are deal breakers for me. Just my two cents.
 
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The main reason I didn’t care to post much on the Thummim is that there are loads of varying opinions out there already. I pretty much heard exactly what Precogvision did, which is why I commented to begin with because it was basically just adding a +1 to his review to echo my own thoughts.

Maybe I should have said something because there’s A LOT of praise for the Thummim that I just couldn’t quite grasp myself, but that’s the beauty of this hobby. We all hear things differently and have different tastes. At the end of the day getting them in your own ears is the only way to decide for yourself.
I’m certainly not criticizing anyone’s posts or opinions. That’s what this forum is all about. I was just posting a thought of mine, that things become much more complicated at such a high price point. Just food for thought.

People's feelings being so wrapped-up in inanimate objects they buy will always be weird to me, and people getting mad online about their hobby likewise is strange. :shrug: YMMV.

I appreciate Precog's brutal honesty. If nothing else, it's a nice palate cleanser after reading all the worshipful "reviews." Again, I get it: YMMV.
While I understand your POV, my point is that it’s VERY hard for many people not to become wrapped up in something that they spent $4500 on. Most people spend their money on things they‘re personally vested in. $4500 is hardly spare change to most people. I do appreciate honesty with one’s own opinions as well.
 
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In general, I’d like to think that most of us are kind, and don’t like to unnecessarily hurt others‘ feelings, thus I would be in the camp that if I really didn’t like it, I would just not say anything, unless a potential buyer asked me specifically for my opinion on that product. But do you think this desire not to hurt feelings ends up perpetuating the cycle of unjustified prices? It’s a tough balance IMHO.
Man, that's a really tough question, and all the more so as a reviewer. Really deep in fact, especially about perpetuating a cycle and whatnot. I do feel obligated to call out stuff like this when it's bad to this extent (at least to my ears) as a PSA of sorts. However, I know there are some reviewers that'll simply not write reviews for stuff they dislike. I think that's fair, and honestly, it's the same for me with stuff that's mediocre - not bad enough for me to clown on, but also not good enough for me to really praise.

As for hurt feelings, I totally get that. I’d feel irked if someone knocked something I like too - that’s human nature. But at the end of the day, it stands you’re never going to make everyone happy. I think the only thing I can do is write true to what I hear. I may embellish, crack crude jokes at times, but I hope that the overall cadence of my reviews serve to make clear where I stand on a product.

I know I didn’t completely answer your question, but I also don’t think there’s a concrete answer to it either!

Do these reviews use pricing as one of the factors to come up with a score? Sorry this might be mentioned somewhere in your posts @Precogvision , I've read most of them since these are good reads. Just wondering if these are supposed to read like Sony MH755 being "better" than a bunch of TOTL IEMs in a place where money doesn't matter, or if everything is valued according to their retail price. (PS I haven't even tried any of the "four figure" offerings)
No, that's definitely a good question as my stance has shifted some. I think there's an element of bias at-hand simply by knowing the price, and it stands that no scoring system like this will ever be remotely objective. Nonetheless, my scores are intended to be scores based on sound quality alone, akin to perhaps Animus' scoring in that they're more "preferential". I would indeed prefer the Sony MH755 to many flagship IEMs I've scored lower. However, I've stopped assigning more concrete "grades" like Crin does because, frankly, I don't think I'm consistent enough to do so.
 
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Honestly, this is one thing that makes me so wary of summit-fi products. If I spent $300-$500 on an IEM, and it was unique, with a sound signature that was polarizing, but one that I like a lot, reading bad reviews and negative impressions from those for whom the sound just didn’t fit, wouldn’t really bother me. Even though I know that how it sounds to me personally is all that really matters, if I spent $4500 on that item, I couldn’t help but feel bad, even though I liked it. In general, I’d like to think that most of us are kind, and don’t like to unnecessarily hurt others‘ feelings, thus I would be in the camp that if I really didn’t like it, I would just not say anything, unless a potential buyer asked me specifically for my opinion on that product. But do you think this desire not to hurt feelings ends up perpetuating the cycle of unjustified prices? It’s a tough balance IMHO.
I see negative impressions as not meant to hurt other's feelings, but rather to inform. Personally I'm tired of headfi hype threads parroting the same generically positive impressions over and over. I've followed a few of those threads over the years for products I was unable to demo, ended buying and being thoroughly disappointed. So I actually do appreciate the opposing view, as even at summit-fi, having tried many of those pieces myself, they all still do have weaknesses, just way fewer of them, but at the end of the day I would still like to know those weaknesses if I was a potential buyer so I'd be better able to avoid the weaknesses that are deal breakers for me. Just my two cents.
Agree with @cenizas , it is important that negatives are highlighted so that people can make an informed decision when going to get an IEM, be it cheap budgetFI or TOTL sets. I've seen quite a number of other reviews where there are "no cons" at all, can't be every IEM is "perfectly perfect" right? Or at least it would be good in a review to do comparisons with comparatively priced gear that use the same transducers eg compare multidriver BA types to multidriver BA types, single DD to single DD, and at least from an A/B comparison, we will know which set has which areas of strengths and weaknesses.

But then again, perhaps the reviewer has different tastes/music genres than you, so it might be good to follow some headfiers/reviewers who you know share the same preferences. Or maybe read a multitude of reviews and get the average of the "best" and "worst" rated reviews of a particular IEM, to come to a consensus opinion about it.
 
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People's feelings being so wrapped-up in inanimate objects they buy will always be weird to me, and people getting mad online about their hobby likewise is strange. :shrug: YMMV.

I appreciate Precog's brutal honesty. If nothing else, it's a nice palate cleanser after reading all the worshipful "reviews." Again, I get it: YMMV.
Aside from the well-treaded issue of access journalism, I think it's easy for people to take reviews that they do not agree with as an indictment on their hearing and/or cognitive judgement. Clearly only a fool who is deaf and dumb would buy something so expensive and crow about how good it is, right? :wink:

No product is perfect, or will ever be perfect. I'm always wary of anybody who showers any product in adoring, infatuated hype because that is never realistic. The truth has an odd way of always floating to the surface at some point.
 

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