Review: Unique Melody Aero custom triple driver IEM
Sep 17, 2010 at 11:50 AM Post #31 of 58
perhaps it is a rather terrible description...my main point is that the bass is punchy...not bloated. it hits, then its gone.
 
I dont think they are bass light, sub-bass if anything may be lacking, but oodles more than a PFE or from what i remember from my brief SE530 demo.
 
You dont realise how much bass is there because it is layered behind some mids and highs...but it is certainly there...plentiful and great quality.
 
Take all of this with a grain of salt because the best description I have for the IE8's is sitting atop a sub....bass on the IE8 is much more immersive...i personally felt like i was drowning in it.
 
Quote:
You must be the first person who says that UM IEMs punch you in the chest... Most describe them as rather bass light? however, I am not quite sure whether being punched in the chest is less or more bass compared to sitting on top of a sub
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Sep 17, 2010 at 1:18 PM Post #32 of 58


 
Quote:
 
You dont realise how much bass is there because it is layered behind some mids and highs...but it is certainly there...plentiful and great quality.
 
 


You've described very well here one of the issues with balanced armature iems. They don't move very much air. They don't punch, they don't hit, you don't feel them, you only hear them, particularly in the bass. The bass tends to recede into the background. This is particularly true when there is outside noise during a commute.
 
 
Sep 17, 2010 at 7:37 PM Post #33 of 58


Quote:
 

You've described very well here one of the issues with balanced armature iems. They don't move very much air. They don't punch, they don't hit, you don't feel them, you only hear them, particularly in the bass. The bass tends to recede into the background. This is particularly true when there is outside noise during a commute.
 

 
I'm not sure if its just me, but when i wear my Mage outside, i don't hear anything other than my music. The seal is so good that it makes me feel dangerous since i'm on the streets. 
 
 
Nov 4, 2010 at 11:09 PM Post #34 of 58
Trust me, BA's drivers have noooo problem moving air. If you've heard a pair of JHA specifically. I'm sure you'll take back your words.
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Quote:
 

You've described very well here one of the issues with balanced armature iems. They don't move very much air. They don't punch, they don't hit, you don't feel them, you only hear them, particularly in the bass. The bass tends to recede into the background. This is particularly true when there is outside noise during a commute.
 



 
Nov 5, 2010 at 1:10 AM Post #35 of 58


 
Quote:
Trust me, BA's drivers have noooo problem moving air. If you've heard a pair of JHA specifically. I'm sure you'll take back your words.
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I am going to hear the JH16.
 
No promises on taking back my words
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  because BA drivers don't move air very well at all. Keep in mind "moving air" is a separate subjective quality different from quantity of bass. It's a little odd because decibels are most commonly used to measure sound pressure--shouldn't a decibel from one transducer be the same as a decibel from another and sound the same? Well, as I think you know, it's not quite that simple (audio engineers are welcome to comment here!).
 
Take the ortofon e-q7 (which I like and sounds beautiful and thanks to Rawrster for letting me hear it). A moving armature that's supposed to sound (for people used to BA drivers, maybe) like a dynamic in terms of bass. People described it as having punchy bass. But compared to similar-tier dynamic iems, the "bass energy", the total living quality of moving air and perceived sound together wasn't even comparable. In direct comparison to something like the mtpc or MD, the bass of the orto was lifeless. Again, I'm not talking about mere quantity of bass. I am not talking about "bloat" or whatever garbage people say when they try to argue that their expensive iem isn't lacking something important.
 
Several people (shigzeo is one I remember) also said the sm3 does not have that moving air quality which a dynamic driver iem can have, even though the sm3 is considered to have excellent bass for a dynamic. It's not quantity, but a certain quality which should be considered along with other qualities such as detail, speed, etc.
 
Here's the issue: Without that moving air quality, bass will often fade into the background for a listener just as bungsai found with his fairly expensive custom BA-driver iem and many others have noted. I pm'd one head-fi'er who confirmed that he found the same thing with the westone 3 ba-driven iems. Because universal BA-driven iems with decent bass quantity have this trait, I do not believe a custom BA-driven iem with boosted bass quantity will magically be free of it. It is an inherent quality of balanced armatures. Kevin Karth, the audio engineer who worked with Monster Cable to design their iems talked to me about this via PM. He considered it a weakness of BA transducers and it was part of why he went with dynamics for Monster. Marty Garcia, owner of Future Sonics, worked with Shure on early multi-driver BA designs (iirc from my conversation with him) and parted with Shure when he was dissatisfied with the sound they offered.
 
But hey, people may like that. You might even think of it as a "feature". Why not?
 
 
So, yeah, there are certainly things we could say are great about ba-iems. But this isn't one of them for a lot of people. Please people, do not reply with "oh yeah?! BA-iems are great for xyz . It's okay.
 
Nov 5, 2010 at 1:18 AM Post #36 of 58
I definitely understand what you are saying. I am saying that certainly, when used and tuned properly, BA offers more than enough movement of air to have that "thump" that runs straight to your heart that you get from dynamic drivers. I totally get where you are coming from, and from my personal experience, there are lots of monitors out there that offer a quality "thump" from BA drivers that aren't nearly as deep, or heart shaking than dynamics, but BA's definitely have the ability to offer the same punch you are speaking about. My JH11's offer more than enough punch to match a dynamic driver, even my previous JH10X3 did. It simply comes down to how you use and tune the receiver. 
 
Dynamic drivers of course can offer more or match top tier BA armature driver monitors, but dynamic drivers are also extremely hard to tune as well. Also to find a high quality dynamic driver is difficult, that is why Futuresonic manufactures their own. BA's are without a doubt harder to tune to give you that sound in the lows that we all look for, but it's definitely not impossible to make it perform like that. Also, Unique Melody, maker of the Mage and Miracle that we spoke of earlier has a very distinct sound signature throughout the line. They offer a crystal clear high, full bodied mids, all wrapped up in a brighter sound signature with a super quick, and punchy low-end. The dual lows in the Mage are to boost the performance of the lows in terms of how fast it punches, and how accurate the low is rather than offer that hard hitting thump that we are all familiar with. 
 
When you audition the JH16, you'll understand what i mean. Many even find the JH16 to offer too much lows, and too much of that thump that you are looking for, that is why many choose the JH13 over the 16.
 
Nov 5, 2010 at 1:37 AM Post #37 of 58


Quote:
I definitely understand what you are saying. I am saying that certainly, when used and tuned properly, BA offers more than enough movement of air to have that "thump" that runs straight to your heart that you get from dynamic drivers. I totally get where you are coming from, and from my personal experience, there are lots of monitors out there that offer a quality "thump" from BA drivers that aren't nearly as deep, or heart shaking than dynamics, but BA's definitely have the ability to offer the same punch you are speaking about. My JH11's offer more than enough punch to match a dynamic driver, even my previous JH10X3 did. It simply comes down to how you use and tune the receiver. 
 
Dynamic drivers of course can offer more or match top tier BA armature driver monitors, but dynamic drivers are also extremely hard to tune as well. Also to find a high quality dynamic driver is difficult, that is why Futuresonic manufactures their own. BA's are without a doubt harder to tune to give you that sound in the lows that we all look for, but it's definitely not impossible to make it perform like that. Also, Unique Melody, maker of the Mage and Miracle that we spoke of earlier has a very distinct sound signature throughout the line. They offer a crystal clear high, full bodied mids, all wrapped up in a brighter sound signature with a super quick, and punchy low-end. The dual lows in the Mage are to boost the performance of the lows in terms of how fast it punches, and how accurate the low is rather than offer that hard hitting thump that we are all familiar with. 
 
When you audition the JH16, you'll understand what i mean. Many even find the JH16 to offer too much lows, and too much of that thump that you are looking for, that is why many choose the JH13 over the 16.



Well, maybe you are right. Certainly, your point about UM's tuning for it's "house sound" is well taken. I'll be interested to hear the Jh16 and jh13.
 
Given the opinions of audio engineers like Misters Karth and Garcia, along with my own and other's listening, I am a bit sceptical about the technical abilities of balanced armatures, however. Even when I strongly eq'd my low tier dual BA iems, while the bass was strong (even too strong), it eventually faded as my ears acclimated and there was a lack of that bass energy/moving air, meanwhile, with my mtpc's on a bass-shy recording (archival or bootleg), the moving air keeps the bass present, even if it's weak.
 
 
 
 
Feb 27, 2011 at 2:42 PM Post #38 of 58
Hello, with regards to "It is not terrible with a basic Sansa Clip or Fuze, but at that point I can think of several cheaper alternatives that will perform nearly as well." may I know what else do you recommend?
 
Feb 27, 2011 at 6:19 PM Post #39 of 58


Quote:
Hello, with regards to "It is not terrible with a basic Sansa Clip or Fuze, but at that point I can think of several cheaper alternatives that will perform nearly as well." may I know what else do you recommend?



Running straight from a Fuze, Clip, or Clip+, I prefer the 1964-T from 1964 Ears, or the UE4pro from Ultimate Ears. The UM Aero still sounds good from the Sansa players, but responds better to a higher end source. In contrast, the 1964-T and especially the UE4pro start off better but don't scale as well. Don't get me wrong though: all are enjoyable enough from a basic DAP.
 
 
Feb 28, 2011 at 6:22 AM Post #40 of 58
Hi, thanks for the reply.
How do they differ in terms of sound signature? I was listening to custom version of the UM Aero and was extremely impressed. They were just what i was looking for.
 
Feb 28, 2011 at 10:35 AM Post #41 of 58


Quote:
Hi, thanks for the reply.
How do they differ in terms of sound signature? I was listening to custom version of the UM Aero and was extremely impressed. They were just what i was looking for.



I'd say that based on your comment, the Aero would be perfect for you. I recommend Aero for fans of the AKG K701, Etymotic ER4S, or the Head Direct RE models (although I haven't heard the last few versions so they may have changed their sound sig), who are looking for a custom that keeps that similar type of sound. In comparison the UE4pro is going to sound more aggressive and bassy, and the 1964-T is going to be a little too distant and laid back. They all have a pleasing sound but a different focus.
 
 
Feb 28, 2011 at 10:50 AM Post #42 of 58
Great review. I was a bit suspicious about the "universal customs" concept, but looks like they're worth a try.
 
Still way out of my monetary league, but reshelling is reasonably cheap.
 
Mar 3, 2011 at 9:20 AM Post #43 of 58
Hi project86, thanks for the reply. I am also replying your post for other people for reference, because what i found was that the Aero was an improvement over the re0 especially in the bass department while keeping a similar sound signature and your reply kind of confirmed it. I shall save for the Aeros then.
 
Quote:
I'd say that based on your comment, the Aero would be perfect for you. I recommend Aero for fans of the AKG K701, Etymotic ER4S, or the Head Direct RE models (although I haven't heard the last few versions so they may have changed their sound sig), who are looking for a custom that keeps that similar type of sound. In comparison the UE4pro is going to sound more aggressive and bassy, and the 1964-T is going to be a little too distant and laid back. They all have a pleasing sound but a different focus.
 



 
 
Apr 2, 2011 at 7:23 PM Post #44 of 58
Thank you every for all the great reading - a lot of good information. The introductory review was stellar - absolutely, wonderfully thorough.
 
I was originally on the fence between going with a reshell of my TripleFi 10's or a reshell +1 mid driver. Now, after reading this review, I am considering the Aero, even though it would be even more of a reach in terms of price, as they are currently on sale for $420.
 
Some background: I do consider myself an audio file - i only listen to flac music, I have a DAC and amp at my PC for use with some HD650's. However, with going back to "school" and much more commuting my listening has shifted heavily back to using IEMs (TF10's). Depending on my mood and the music I am listening to, I do consider myself more of a basshead than not. I.e. I find the TF10's to produce adequate bass depending on the song (as often as not, I am dissapoitned with the bass output). 
 
The reviews (not just of the Aero, but all of UM) seem to point to a subjective "lacking" of bass. Can anyone comment as to whether or not they think the bass of the Aero would appease this bass head? I just don't want to get the Aero's and find the bass quantity (I already understand the quality is great) to be lacking! I don't want it to be less than the TF10's... If the bass can be said to be comparable (albeit different) or better in quantity, I think I'm going to go with the Aero's. 
 
Any advice or direction would be greatly appreciated!
 
Jonathan
 
Apr 3, 2011 at 9:30 AM Post #45 of 58
As much as I hate to talk someone out of the wonderful UM Aero, in your case I don't think they would be the best match. The bass quantity is probably going to be an issue for you. It is not as prominent as the TF10 and would probably bug you with some songs.
 
On the other hand, if you use a player with a quality EQ function, then you would be quite happy with the results. Example: the stock Sansa Fuze/Clip/Clip+ doesn't cut it for EQ, but running Rockbox works perfectly to bring out the bass. Many other players have a nice EQ too. The Aero does respond very well to bass boost.
 

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