Precog's IEM Reviews & Impressions
Mar 9, 2021 at 9:52 PM Post #406 of 779

Precogvision

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Sony IER-M9 Revisted

sonyierm9.jpg

Just thought I'd post some quick updated thoughts. I have this on hand again (thanks to Moa Music!) as I'm preparing for a kilobuck IEM shootout.

The IER-M9 is a very warm IEM, generally sporting a thicker note-weight. Its timbre is special within the context of BA IEMs; decay is exceptionally clean and the IER-M9 does not lack transient density like many BA IEMs do. This is one of only two BA bass responses - the other being the U12t - that I remotely give the nod to. The IER-M9 emphasizes mid-bass considerably more with a longer, drawn-out decay; consequently, it's not as clean (read: it bloats slightly). I've also gotten considerably more picky about my treble as time goes on, and treble on the IER-M9 is not as good as I remember it being. It has a very noticeable dip throughout the lower-treble with a strong tilt toward sparkle and sizzle; I think I would prefer a smoother response. Nonetheless, it is not fatiguing, managing to tame even Twice's "Likey" with excellent extension to boot.

Now, I wasn't actually very impressed with the IER-M9's imaging the first time I heard it. It has a distinct lack of center image diffusion with which vocals are difficult for me to pinpoint in my mind's eye. This might just be a "me" thing, as some friends have said vocals, to the contrary, sound distant for them. If the IER-M9 did not suffer from this issue, heck, I probably would have bought one for myself. Alas, while this phenomenon pervades, I do find myself appreciating the IER-M9's imaging chops more on re-listen. It is very incisive when it comes to positional cues with every instrument and vocalist having a well-defined pocket on the stage, devoid of the center image. I do think it has the Andro 2020 beat on this front even if it lacks the same quantity of space, or air, between said pockets. The biggest issue is still the IER-M9's transient attack. There is a distinct lack of vigor, intensity which notes are articulated; in general, the IER-M9's transients skew to the slower side to my ears. That's a shame because the IER-M9 is a pretty resolving IEM.

Those who have read my initial impressions of this IEM will know that I was very impressed when I first heard it. Second listen had me thinking, yeah, this is still pretty darn good. Then I spent a week with it, and my enjoyment was diminished to "it's the IER-M9". Words cannot describe just how safe, ergo boring, the IER-M9 is, and I have found myself consistently less enamored with it as time goes on. But ultimately, I will be the first to admit that it is the most solid kilobuck IEM that money can buy. Like the U12t, I think this is an IEM that most anyone can pick up with confidence, knowing that what they hear will appeal to them to some degree. The IER-M9 runs circles around most of the canon kilobuck contenders in the timbre department, matches them blow-for-blow in tuning. I leave its original score as a sign of respect, then, even if my preferences have ultimately moved on.

Score: 8/10
 
Mar 9, 2021 at 11:40 PM Post #408 of 779

Precogvision

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@Precogvision Have you heard of the M7? I'd be interested in your perspective of it compared to the M9 if you get a chance.

Sorry, I haven't. Isn't it basically just the M9 without the super-tweeter? Word on the street is that it sounds near-identical minus the extension. Would be interesting to hear it if I get the chance, though.
 
Mar 9, 2021 at 11:46 PM Post #409 of 779

Love Music

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Sony IER-M9 Revisted

sonyierm9.jpg

Just thought I'd post some quick updated thoughts. I have this on hand again (thanks to Moa Music!) as I'm preparing for a kilobuck IEM shootout.

The IER-M9 is a very warm IEM, generally sporting a thicker note-weight. Its timbre is special within the context of BA IEMs; decay is exceptionally clean and the IER-M9 does not lack transient density like many BA IEMs do. This is one of only two BA bass responses - the other being the U12t - that I remotely give the nod to. The IER-M9 emphasizes mid-bass considerably more with a longer, drawn-out decay; consequently, it's not as clean (read: it bloats slightly). I've also gotten considerably more picky about my treble as time goes on, and treble on the IER-M9 is not as good as I remember it being. It has a very noticeable dip throughout the lower-treble with a strong tilt toward sparkle and sizzle; I think I would prefer a smoother response. Nonetheless, it is not fatiguing, managing to tame even Twice's "Likey" with excellent extension to boot.

Now, I wasn't actually very impressed with the IER-M9's imaging the first time I heard it. It has a distinct lack of center image diffusion with which vocals are difficult for me to pinpoint in my mind's eye. This might just be a "me" thing, as some friends have said vocals, to the contrary, sound distant for them. If the IER-M9 did not suffer from this issue, heck, I probably would have bought one for myself. Alas, while this phenomenon pervades, I do find myself appreciating the IER-M9's imaging chops more on re-listen. It is very incisive when it comes to positional cues with every instrument and vocalist having a well-defined pocket on the stage, devoid of the center image. I do think it has the Andro 2020 beat on this front even if it lacks the same quantity of space, or air, between said pockets. The biggest issue is still the IER-M9's transient attack. There is a distinct lack of vigor, intensity which notes are articulated; in general, the IER-M9's transients skew to the slower side to my ears. That's a shame because the IER-M9 is a pretty resolving IEM.

Those who have read my initial impressions of this IEM will know that I was very impressed when I first heard it. Second listen had me thinking, yeah, this is still pretty darn good. Then I spent a week with it, and my enjoyment was diminished to "it's the IER-M9". Words cannot describe just how safe, ergo boring, the IER-M9 is, and I have found myself consistently less enamored with it as time goes on. But ultimately, I will be the first to admit that it is the most solid kilobuck IEM that money can buy. Like the U12t, I think this is an IEM that most anyone can pick up with confidence, knowing that what they hear will appeal to them to some degree. The IER-M9 runs circles around most of the canon kilobuck contenders in the timbre department, matches them blow-for-blow in tuning. I leave its original score as a sign of respect, then, even if my preferences have ultimately moved on.

Score: 8/10
Nice review. Do you think the m9 is better than the andromeda then?
 
Mar 10, 2021 at 1:23 AM Post #410 of 779

Precogvision

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Nice review. Do you think the m9 is better than the andromeda then?

This is a tough comparison, as they vary drastically in their presentation. On paper? Yes. The IER-M9 has significantly better timbre and dynamics; the tuning is also a hair safer in my opinion. Someone like Crin would definitely have the IER-M9 a notch higher on their list. But subjectively, it's a different story. I prefer the Andromeda 2020 for its dipped upper-midrange, more linear treble, and imaging performance. There's just something really magical about the way it syncs together for me. I think Antdroid's in the same boat, as he has the Andro 2020 ranked a hair higher for his AntGrade.
 
Mar 10, 2021 at 11:37 PM Post #411 of 779

Love Music

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This is a tough comparison, as they vary drastically in their presentation. On paper? Yes. The IER-M9 has significantly better timbre and dynamics; the tuning is also a hair safer in my opinion. Someone like Crin would definitely have the IER-M9 a notch higher on their list. But subjectively, it's a different story. I prefer the Andromeda 2020 for its dipped upper-midrange, more linear treble, and imaging performance. There's just something really magical about the way it syncs together for me. I think Antdroid's in the same boat, as he has the Andro 2020 ranked a hair higher for his AntGrade.
I see. Wonder if there is a difference between the 2020 version and the first one as i have the latter one
 
Mar 11, 2021 at 8:33 AM Post #412 of 779

Crudeliter

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Words cannot describe just how safe, ergo boring, the IER-M9 is, and I have found myself consistently less enamored with it as time goes on.
Could you point out, what's the difference in long-term engagement between the M9 and the U12t? Ultimately, they share similar tuning in terms of overall safe feeling, which probably reduces emotion over time. But the U12t doesn't seem to have the same effect for you as the M9.
 
Mar 11, 2021 at 1:23 PM Post #413 of 779

Precogvision

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Could you point out, what's the difference in long-term engagement between the M9 and the U12t? Ultimately, they share similar tuning in terms of overall safe feeling, which probably reduces emotion over time. But the U12t doesn't seem to have the same effect for you as the M9.

For sure, that’s definitely a good question as the U12t also shares something of a reputation for being boring.

Foremost, I would attribute it to their dynamics. Something that becomes increasingly evident the longer I listen to the IER-M9 is that it skews towards the middle in terms of dynamic swings; neither overly loud nor downwards compressed but just, well, there. The 12t has fairly good dynamic contrast by comparison; however, what really stands out is the weight with which it articulates these swings. On Aimer's "Hakuchuumu," for example, you can just feel the transitions at 1:03, 2:45, and 3:50 slam into you. There is a certain intensity to the U12t’s presentation which I just don't hear on the IER-M9, despite both of them (perceivably, at least) skewing towards the slower side in terms of speed.

Then there’s tonal preference. I don’t mind some extra mid-bass and decay, but I think the IER-M9 has a tad too much down low. The U12t is noticeably cleaner in tandem with its sub-bass oriented curve. Treble is interesting. IER-M9 is definitely smoother going into the upper-harmonics, even extends a tad further, I think. But it’s also got a noticeable absence of impact to percussive hits that sounds somewhat “off” in retrospect. This is not to say the U12t is any more natural, I just like a little more impact and the contrast to its 15kHz tia peak. While it makes for some varied impressions (some will find the U12t dark), I enjoy that slight haziness up top, particularly with the M20 module. I actually find the sheer air with the M15 module a tad fatiguing.

At the end of the day, it's a combination of little things here and there that keep me coming back to the U12t, but I hope this helped explain more closely!
 
Mar 12, 2021 at 10:31 AM Post #414 of 779

etlouis

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I like my S8 but need to be careful with associations etc to get the best from them. I ordered some plastic 330 ohm Knowles acoustic BA filters that I'll try in the mid nozzle if I can get them in. Should take a couple/few db out of the upper mids.

Is it possible to get the dampeners inside the nozzle? It may be possible to physically lower trebles instead of EQ. The trebles on the S8 is kinda too hot. With certain genres like Classical music, there is a lot of treble presence coming from violins. After listening to half an album, I always start to get this fatigue from the tizzle and sizzly-ness.

Gold cables synergizes with S8 a bit better. More warmth to sub-bass and low mids. I have one but it's a bit too thick to be wearing around in public. I was thinking of getting this: https://shenzhenaudio.com/collectio...onal-earphone-upgrade-cable-with-0-78mm-2-pin

There comes the style issue. Too much bling bling in public. I'd rather these cables be coated in smoky or black PVC.
 
Mar 12, 2021 at 1:22 PM Post #415 of 779

goodvibes

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You may be the 1st to call the treble too hot. Almost every reviewer calls it appropriate or reserved. You may be associating the upper mids, that are slightly elevated, to highs. This is the most elevated frequency and something easily associated with the violin range.
The filter may or may not fit but the mid nozzle 'looks' ready for a plastic one if you remove their black insert and filter. I'll know in a week or 2.
 
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Mar 13, 2021 at 7:49 PM Post #416 of 779

Precogvision

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Had a quick meet-up with MRS today and listened to a few IEMs. These are just brief impressions, as I only spent about 15-20 minutes with each IEM and didn't get around to graphing them either.

Audiosense AQ7: Here's a strong contender for one of the wonkiest IEMs that I've heard in recent memory. So what's the best way of going about this? Bass is largely sub-bass oriented, shelving off at around 300hZ or so. The lower-midrange is on the leaner side, but male vocalists don't sound thin at all. Listening to Rodney Atkin's "Watching You," the macro-detail to his voice is exceptional. But here's where things get messy; the ear compensation is far too aggressive, and its followed by a strong dip throughout the upper-midrange. Female vocalists sound like...they're almost floating? The imaging on this IEM is also all sorts of wonk; while incision, perhaps, is not poor, positioning cannot be considered remotely accurate. Detail is quite decent on the AQ7. Definitely a memorable IEM, but for all the wrong reasons.

Audiosense DT200: Yeah, this one makes a whole lot more "sense" I think. It doesn't have the detail of its older brother, the AQ7, but the tonality is much more pleasant here. Leans warmer, maybe something of a bassier IEM by virtue of not having a lot of treble. It doesn't quite roll-off completely, but expectedly, treble extension and technicalities are where this IEM needs work.

BGVP DM8: These are pretty decent actually. Bass is heavily mid-bass emphasized which lends to the perception of slam - I know it fooled me for a moment - until you hear the decay. Midrange is fairly balanced, slightly upper-midrange leaning. Treble is this IEM's strongest suit; the DM8 is very smooth post-5kHz, and thankfully not in a "this rolls off into the abyss" sense. Color me impressed here. Technicalities are about to be expected; average imaging, layering, the works. I think this is a likable enough IEM despite how it might graph.

Final Audio E500: Very surprising. It's not an MH755 contender - much less killer - but this is a pretty sweet IEM for $20. Whereas the MH755 is a considerably sub-bass oriented IEM, the E500 acts as a foil, leaning much more heavily toward mid-bass. The midrange, in a very un-Final Audio fashion, is actually not a shouty train wreck and sounds less forward than on the MH755. Treble seems to have something of a similar lower-treble tilt, extension is equidistant (so generally not great). Technicality-wise, I would give a slight edge to the MH755. I haven't been a big fan of any of Final Audio's IEMs; how ironic that their cheapest IEM would be the one to win me over.

Sennheiser IE 300: I had hopes for these, but alas, reality is often disappointing. They lean strongly V-shaped with far too many quirks moving into the upper-midrange and treble. Female vocals are husky and sibilant. Treble is "tinny" in that it reminds me of listening to rain hit an aluminum roof. I guess in some respects, it does harken to the Sennheiser "house sound" (oh hello, HD800S). Bass is probably the saving grace here - and there's quite a bit of it - but even then, these IEMs do not nearly merit their price of entry in this reviewer's opinion.

VSonic GR07 (Bass Edition): Apparently this was a pretty popular IEM back in the day. It's one of the most in-head IEMs that I've heard in terms of center image distinction. Don't have much else to say; I spent a couple of minutes with it and moved on.

Scores:

Audiosense AQ72
Audiosense DT2004
BGVP DM85
Final Audio E5004
Sennheiser IE 3003
VSonic GR07 (Bass Edition)2

Sony IER-Z1R re-visited for review and Thieaudio Voyager 14 impressions next week if I have time.
 
Mar 13, 2021 at 10:31 PM Post #418 of 779

Precogvision

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@Precogvision Did you test the IE300 with stock tips? I heard it has some kind of dampening.

Hey, I used the Final E Type tips. MRS tells me the IE300 the stock tips are, and I quote, "the worst tips I've ever used". Apparently they just collapse because of how thin they are, so there's no seal. Chrono also said pretty much the same thing. FWIW, the Final E Type tips are up there in terms of dampening from my experience; they tend to neuter the highs and tighten up the bass.
 
Mar 13, 2021 at 11:00 PM Post #420 of 779

TooPoorForHiFi

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I graphed a few different tips on the IE 300. Curiously, the Finals repeatedly measured with significantly more 2.5-5k. (No matter what I did with the Sednas, couldn't get the later resonance peak to align with the others.)
Can you add the measurement of Stock silicone ?
 

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