Precog's IEM Reviews & Impressions
May 24, 2021 at 10:40 AM Post #631 of 3,620
Tanchjim Oxygen Impressions

As Tanchjim’s claim to fame, the Oxygen is often touted as being a Moondrop KXXS (one of my favorite single-DD IEMs) on steroids. So you can imagine that I’ve had my eye on the Oxygen for quite some time. Here, I’d like to give a shoutout to @luisdent & @MRSallee for finally making it possible.


Bass on the Oxygen curves satisfyingly, striking a tad more into the mid-bass than the KXXS and lending it to more warmth. This Oxygen, in particular, appears to measure with more bass than some other units, so take that for what you will. Gone is the overt-softness to slam the KXXS exhibits down-low, although make no mistake the Oxygen’s bass is still soft by DD standards. It’s mostly just okay, so let’s examine the midrange. Some listeners I know have, ironically, called the Oxygen’s midrange asphyxiating. I’d have to disagree. It’s upper-midrange tilted to be sure, but tonally, it doesn’t trigger any alarm bells. Maybe my ears have just been burned-in from hearing so many Moondrop IEMs at this point, who knows? I do hear this choking characteristic on the Hana, though. Treble on the Oxygen is a good deal more incisive than on the KXXS. Gone is the soft, wispy decay of the KXXS, replaced by more of a mid-treble tilt with pleasing amounts of impact and sparkle. Extension is not superb, but adequate. I do find myself enjoying this treble response. As a whole, I think the Oxygen hits that sweet spot tonally that the Hana and Darling (both overly shouty and with wonky treble responses) just didn't do for me.

The Oxygen is decently technical. Detail is about par with the ER2XR; however, the Oxygen leans smoother and more timbrally pleasing in decay like the KXXS. I think what would stand out most is the Oxygen’s macrodynamic punch. It pushes into dynamic swings harder than the FDX1, ER2XR, KXXS, and a lot of the other single-DD IEMs I’ve heard. The Zen and Luna surpass it in this department, but needless to say those IEM have other issues. I'm just left wanting by the milquetoast bass response; I think that would've aided greatly in perception of this characteristic. The Oxygen also has good imaging. It’s not holographic and it’s still lacking in center image diffusion, mind you, but I hear excellent left-right channel distinction and staging is slightly out-of-head.

Of course, you’ll want an assessment of value. The Oxygen takes a lot of what I like about the KXXS and turns it up a notch. Another close competitor would be the JVC FDX1. Blargh. Sure, the Oxygen’s not quite as technical, but the Oxygen has the FDX1 beat by a mile in timbre and treble response. Then you have the single-DD “bogeyman,” the Etymotic ER2XR. I don’t think the Oxygen is strictly better, but it’s in the same playing field and foils the ER2XR’s narrow staging and darker treble. Furthermore, when one considers that these are all IEMs at the top of their price bracket, well, that certainly does put things into perspective, doesn’t it?

It’s safe to say that the Oxygen is still a very solid IEM even if it’s not nearly as relevant these days with Moondrop breaking into sub-$100 territory with their single DDs. I'd really be hard-pressed to choose between my ER2XR and the Oxygen, as we all know the Etymotic fit is a pretty big barrier to entry. Along these lines, something unexpected is just how tiny the Oxygen is; it’s probably the first IEM I’ve worn where I can lay on my side comfortably in bed. Isolation kind of sucks, but all told? I just might have to pick one of these up for myself.

Score: 6/10
Detail probably can be toe to toe with er2 series but o2 has vastly better imaging, staging and even layering. Technicality wise, oxygen is much ahead than er2! Come on Turii. I'm planning to get one within a few months, for now o2 is quite great. Just not enough body for the vocals. It's quite neutral mids, no coloration, can be a bit less emotional but the DD timbre kept me loving it still.

Oh yes, there is a rumor about Tanchjim Prism
 
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May 24, 2021 at 6:33 PM Post #632 of 3,620
If you guys don't see me post in this thread again, here's why (please excuse my perpetually messy desk):

IMG_6991.JPG


Just kidding, but holy cow. This is why I say most IEMs, and even headphones, have zero soundstage depth to me. These have excellent center image; it truly sounds like there is a third speaker coming from the center.

Also, my thread seems to explode with guests sometimes. I don’t know why - or if these are even all real people - but thanks to everyone who’s been reading my content so far :wink:

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May 24, 2021 at 8:44 PM Post #633 of 3,620
If you guys don't see me post in this thread again, here's why (please excuse my perpetually messy desk):

IMG_6991.JPG

Just kidding, but holy cow. This is why I say most IEMs, and even headphones, have zero soundstage depth to me. These have excellent center image; it truly sounds like there is a third speaker coming from the center.

Also, my thread seems to explode with guests sometimes. I don’t know why - or if these are even all real people - but thanks to everyone who’s been reading my content so far :wink:

B62969D7-1B3F-44B8-B738-375186E4A6DA.png

87744AD8-3823-42F2-97A6-384E606FE71A.png
I've been thinking of getting a bookshelf speaker. Triangle BR03 or this? Any thoughts? Same price range. One need amping.
 
May 24, 2021 at 9:37 PM Post #634 of 3,620
I've been thinking of getting a bookshelf speaker. Triangle BR03 or this? Any thoughts? Same price range. One need amping.

Lol! To be honest, I know nothing about speakers. I bought these on friends’ recommendations, so I’m not the right person to ask. I can say these sure sound good though…
 
May 24, 2021 at 9:54 PM Post #635 of 3,620
Lol! To be honest, I know nothing about speakers. I bought these on friends’ recommendations, so I’m not the right person to ask. I can say these sure sound good though…
Yes true, I had vastly experience with headphones back then and my friend bought wharfedale and I was blown away after that. Speakaa is just better haha.

Oh, that Genelec doesnt require any amping right?
 
May 25, 2021 at 12:46 AM Post #636 of 3,620
If you guys don't see me post in this thread again, here's why (please excuse my perpetually messy desk):

IMG_6991.JPG

Just kidding, but holy cow. This is why I say most IEMs, and even headphones, have zero soundstage depth to me. These have excellent center image; it truly sounds like there is a third speaker coming from the center.

Also, my thread seems to explode with guests sometimes. I don’t know why - or if these are even all real people - but thanks to everyone who’s been reading my content so far :wink:

B62969D7-1B3F-44B8-B738-375186E4A6DA.png

87744AD8-3823-42F2-97A6-384E606FE71A.png
Genelecs are nice speakers, congrats! Fully agree good speakers can do bass and especially imaging like no headphones can. However, you'll likely find it worthwhile to play around a bit to improve acoustics. For instance, for most nearfield monitors your ears should be level with the tweeters. Second, if your model has ports in the back for bass reinforcement, you run into a slightly bigger issue of placement, as need more distance from the back wall to avoid bad resonances. Third, placing monitors on the desk have the disadvantage of acoustic reflections from the surface which are quite noticeable. I also have my active monitors on my desk, but I've also heard them on stands away from desk and the sound is certainly better--flatter frequency response, much better imagining. But nothing is perfect, we all have to live within our room's limitations, so I accept the acoustic compromises I've made, although I have played around quite a bit with different, easy options, including some cheap acoustic paneling behind my speakers. (I bought the wrong, quite cheap, type on-line so didn't make enough of a difference.)
 
May 25, 2021 at 2:12 AM Post #638 of 3,620
If you guys don't see me post in this thread again, here's why (please excuse my perpetually messy desk):

IMG_6991.JPG

Just kidding, but holy cow. This is why I say most IEMs, and even headphones, have zero soundstage depth to me. These have excellent center image; it truly sounds like there is a third speaker coming from the center.

Also, my thread seems to explode with guests sometimes. I don’t know why - or if these are even all real people - but thanks to everyone who’s been reading my content so far :wink:

B62969D7-1B3F-44B8-B738-375186E4A6DA.png

87744AD8-3823-42F2-97A6-384E606FE71A.png
Yeah I know many middle aged guys eventually shifts to speakers from the portable audio world. Personally I like KEF LS50 Wireless II, if I ever spend $2500 on a gear it will be these speakers. However only thing that bothers me is that I live in an apartment in a big city surrounded by a lot of people so portable audio is kind of a compromise for me.
 
May 25, 2021 at 2:15 AM Post #639 of 3,620
If you guys don't see me post in this thread again, here's why (please excuse my perpetually messy desk):

IMG_6991.JPG

Just kidding, but holy cow. This is why I say most IEMs, and even headphones, have zero soundstage depth to me. These have excellent center image; it truly sounds like there is a third speaker coming from the center.

no sub no justice
 
May 25, 2021 at 3:24 AM Post #640 of 3,620
If you guys don't see me post in this thread again, here's why (please excuse my perpetually messy desk):

IMG_6991.JPG

Just kidding, but holy cow. This is why I say most IEMs, and even headphones, have zero soundstage depth to me. These have excellent center image; it truly sounds like there is a third speaker coming from the center.

Also, my thread seems to explode with guests sometimes. I don’t know why - or if these are even all real people - but thanks to everyone who’s been reading my content so far :wink:

B62969D7-1B3F-44B8-B738-375186E4A6DA.png

87744AD8-3823-42F2-97A6-384E606FE71A.png
Very nice. I was listening to a $100,000 speaker system at a friend's house the other day, and it reminded me of the first rule of Fight Club (ok, not Fight Club, but this crazy hobby of ours): you can't compare speakers to headphones, headphones to IEMs, and IEMs to speakers. I mean, you can, but it would be a pointless comparison. They're just too different. Enjoy each for what it can do.
 
May 25, 2021 at 11:56 AM Post #641 of 3,620
Very nice. I was listening to a $100,000 speaker system at a friend's house the other day, and it reminded me of the first rule of Fight Club (ok, not Fight Club, but this crazy hobby of ours): you can't compare speakers to headphones, headphones to IEMs, and IEMs to speakers. I mean, you can, but it would be a pointless comparison. They're just too different. Enjoy each for what it can do.
Took me a couple years in this hobby for that to sink in. I joined head-fi as a young enthusiast moving from speakers to headphones, and the latter, frankly, pissed me off for the longest time. I still smirk like a smartass when I see references to "soundstage" for IEMs, however, LOL.
 
May 25, 2021 at 12:23 PM Post #642 of 3,620
Initially, I went from cheap speakers to preferring earphones. Soundstage didn't seem that important to me over the microdetails in iems, until I got better speakers (JBL 305P) and the improvement in dynamics is making speakers seem more attractive XD. Still iems still have the magic for intimate sound which headphones and speakers can't touch, like it's better to play to their strengths (microdetail, isolation, intimacy) rather than trying to add soundstage to them.
 
May 25, 2021 at 4:54 PM Post #643 of 3,620
Listening to (good) speakers is effortless. The music just happens, in life size, and you can feel it without doing much at all. With IEMs you need to be more involved, more cerebral, and use your imagination alot more, but the mind is a wonderful thing, and a good IEM can get you there if you let it.

To me IEMs and headphones that have an in-your-head sound (diplomatically called an 'intimate stage') fail to sound natural, because they don't do their part in making the music come to life. But as always, YMMV.
 
May 25, 2021 at 5:14 PM Post #644 of 3,620
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May 25, 2021 at 8:49 PM Post #645 of 3,620
Astell&Kern SE180 Impressions

Demo showed up last week, but I've been too enamored with the new speakers to give it much time till today. Ignoring the build entirely, let’s just talk about the sound. For reference, this SE180 has the ESS module (the only one currently available). Critical listening was mainly done with my U12T. For sensitivity-related concerns, the SE200 hisses with the Andro 2020 like all of the other AK DAPs.

I ended off my impressions of the SE200 wishing for something in-between. Well, I think this is an instance of "be careful what you wish for". The SE180 has a dark, downwards-sloping sound signature that tries to emulate the “velvety” character of AK’s other DAPs. Tonally, fine, I get it: this is their jam. What I dislike, then, is how soulless the SE180 sounds. Decay and transients are overly plasticky and thin; most of the AK DAPs at least sound quite rich, thick in the notes if not at all natural. As it is, the SE180 has a perplexing amalgamation of contrasting tonality and intangibles. This is in the sense that one generally expects a more plasticky, etched sound to correspond to a brighter-leaning signature. What you have here is like, I don't know, a thin, gray blanket smothered over the timbre. The "usual" AK sound to my ears is more like a thick, dark black one. Sorry for the crappy analogies. Staging, like the other AK DAPS, is generally on the smaller side, and the SE180 lacks dynamic range and pushes oh-so-limply into dynamic swings. We're not talking bad overall...but for $1500?

Suffice it to say I’m not sold. And if I had to purchase an AK DAP, I would definitely drop the extra coin for the SE200 over this. At least the SE200 has flagship-worthy sound, which I think is a whole lot more questionable here. Crossing my fingers for the other modules AK is supposed to put out for this DAP. The usual disclaimers apply: I hear minor differences between DAPs, it actually sounds fine in isolation despite all my nitpicking, and your mileage might vary. Oh yeah, let me know if you guys want scoring for DAPs too...

Score: 5/10
 
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