Sony IER-M9 impressions thread
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CoryGillmore

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Alright so this IEM has been discussed quite extensively in the M7, M9 and Z1R thread. The M9 has even somewhat been the star of the show in that thread. But I still believe an IEM of this caliber deserves it's own thread for people who want to read about it all in one place. Plus, this is an amazing IEM and I feel this thread has the potential to be quite popular one day, which will in turn stroke my fragile ego and earn me major internet points.

This is my first BA IEM and to be honest I was a bit worried before I finally got to pop them in my ear and hit play. All I ever hear about is how BA bass is lacking in everything. But this M9 has blown me away in every single aspect. It is hands down the best headphone I've ever heard (also the most expensive I've ever owned...) This purchase was funded by an Amazon return of my Sony MDR-Z7M2, which I had for a month before realizing I liked my Sony MDR-1AM2 more than it...It didn't help things considering I paid full suggested retail for the Z7M2 from Amazon US ($900) and preferred the sound of a Best Buy headphone I paid 1/3 of the price for.

I'm powering this IEM from a Sony ZX-300 and it is quite the pairing. High gain and about 75 volume seems to be my sweet spot. The bass on these things has impressed me the most. My favorite thing about the 1AM2 is their bass. So I was expecting to be less than thrilled with the bass of the M9, but was immediately blown away at the first bass note. ANd then the treble...just wow. I've never in my life heard treble this good. Clap sounds and symbals and electronic music in general is something to behold. I'm currently listening to Lorde's Pure Heroine album and I swear these IEMs were made for music like this: electronic beats, sub bass and a smooth female vocal.

I look forward to trying them with many different genres and I look forward to what anyone else may have to say about this splendid IEM. I'm in love...

EDIT 12/08/2019- There's a lot of contradictory information in this thread in regards to proper tip fitment and insertion. A lot of this contradictory info is from me haha. It took me nearly a year to figure it out but I have figured it out. I'm going to copy a post below from myself from 12/08/2019. Tip choice and insertion depth are so important with this IEM, I feel it's important enough to address it in the first post of this thread. It's possible someone could purchase this IEM or the M7 and have a bad experience because of poor tip choice or insertion technique. So here goes:

So I’ve come upon another revelation with regards to tips and insertion techniques. I actually posted this on this thread months ago, but it doesn’t work well if you’re using a tip that is too big. I’ve now found myself settled on the M tips. The cool thing with this is it allows me to use an old insertion technique that pushes the IEM in as deep as it will go. The sound and isolation are incredible.
The technique is as follows. Pop them in your ears like you normally would, then with two fingers, grab the top tip (upper cartilage) of your ear and pull up and towards the back of your head. While doing this, take your free hand and push the body of the IEM in as deep as it will go.

Now something to keep in mind here: if the tip you’re using is too big, the sound could possibly get congested as the hole in the end of the tip is either forced closed or forced up against the inside of your ear, effectively clogging it. But with the correct tip, you will achieve an amazing, consistent sound and fit and the best noise isolation the IEM has to offer.
For me, the M tip coupled with this technique allows the deepest possible insertion I could attain, as the shell of the IEM is literally bottomed out in my ear, meaning it couldn’t possibly go in any deeper. And since the shell of the IEM is also clogging your ear hole, it provides the best isolation I’ve ever attained with the M9. It almost feels like I’m wearing a custom, since the M9 shell fits the inside of my ear so well.
I know things like tips and insertion techniques are highly personal, but I feel this will work for everyone! Just remember less is more when it comes to choosing the right size! I’ve gone from LL to M! Keep that in mind. Choose the smallest tip you can that allows the deepest insertion!
 
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CoryGillmore

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One thing about these IEMs...the only ear tips in the box that fit me are the LL hybrid silicone tips...I guess I just have huge gaping ear holes cause if it weren't for this one pair of tips I would've had to send these things back! I was frantically trying on tips and was starting to worry that I wasn't gonna find a tip that fit me! I was kinda bummed there was only one pair of tips out of the 13 provided that fit me though..but as good as these things seal and sound I don't suppose I need another pair..

Can anyone recommend 3rd party tips that work well with these IEMs?
 
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JustJoseph

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I feel that their main competitors are the Andromedas, and that they do provide a very good alternative to them.

A brief comparison (based on my demo session with the M9s)

The M9s have more natural tonality than the Andros. The Andros are bright and coloured in a sweet sounding way. The M9s feel more realistic and darker, more balanced. The M9s do feel more boring though.

The M9s have much harder hitting bass that goes deeper. This is the key difference between the M9s and Andros, it is like night and day. The bass is enough to satisfy bassheads. You can feel the impact in your eardrums.

The M9s have thicker male vocals that sound rougher and more layered. The Andros, on the other hand have sweeter female vocals.

The M9 does not have as smooth treble as the Andros. However it is not sharp or piercing. The treble is more aggressive and cymbals hit harder. Andros, on the other hand is buttery smooth.

The level of details and instrument separation is comparable.

M9s are way more comfortable than the Andros, they fit like a glove. Unlike the Andros, I do not have to keep searching for specific tips to get the good bass seal.

Overall, M9s have more natural tonality, and far more harder hitting bass. They are a good alternative to the Andros. However, they will not replace the Andros as the king of sub usd1000 iems. This is because the Andros just has a pleasing signature that many would love, it does so many things right. It has no major flaws, which is rare for an iem.
 
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My short impression of Sony IER M9: After listening for a few minutes, I almost always think I'm listening to a balanced/linear DD driver IEM.
 
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After nearly a month spent with the M9 I am so in love with this IEM. I finally got a 4.4 to 2.5 adapter and I've been using the M9 with my Pioneer 300R this last week, which I honestly think pairs with it even better than my beloved Sony ZX300. I've also gone through two sets of aftermarket tips in the last month. Spin Fit and JVC Spiral Dots. The Spin Fits have an amazing fit! The best fitting tip I've tried. But they narrow the soundstage and lessen everything about the bass. The JVC Spiral Dots, on the other hand...are amazing and are now my full time tip for the M9. The wider bore nozzle of the JVCs is also shorter, so it places the snout of the IEM close to the edge of the tip, which widened the soundstage and made everything about the bass better. Or at least it did in my mind...haha never really know for sure. The JVCs also provide me a better fit than any of the Sony tips, though not quite as solid as the Spin Fits. Another good thing about the short and wide bore nozzle of the JVC is it makes it less prone to get crimped in your ear. The Sony tips would get pinched off inside my ear if I looked down sharply, never an issue with the Spiral Dots.
 
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My opinion, price/performance is among the best at the moment. Diminishing return hit rapidly once you go beyond the M9 (plus few other TOTL IEMs at similar pricing range).
 
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My opinion, price/performance is among the best at the moment. Diminishing return hit rapidly once you go beyond the M9 (plus few other TOTL IEMs at similar pricing range).
Why do u have the M9 struck off given the above post then O.0
 
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What did you get that you liked more? And how much was it?
FW10K.

Do I still like M9? Yes, at the $800~ price point I paid for it, used. FW10K is more than double as I paid retail.
 
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CoryGillmore

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FW10K.

Do I still like M9? Yes, at the $800~ price point I paid for it, used. FW10K is more than double as I paid retail.
My those are gorgeous.
 
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toughnut

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My those are gorgeous.
Expression below sum up the IEM look, sound and price. Especially the last one.
A4098F44-6578-4CE5-9F60-79E5F4BB7DDD.jpeg

* photo above is from JVC page on FW10K
 
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nevrsumr

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Any comparison to the N3AP? I like my N3's but definitely don't love them.
 
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Found a new review https://majorhifi.com/sony-ier-m9-review/ Pretty glowing review!

I've also switched back to the Sony Hybrid Silicone tips. I used the JVC Spiral Dots for a couple weeks, and while they are the best aftermarket tip I've tried, they DO lose bass response compared to the Sony included tips. At least to my ears. It's very weird cause when I first got the Spiral Dots and popped them in, I felt they were better in every single way. But then as my ears adjusted I felt like they were missing something. So just today I finally popped the Sony tips back on out of curiosity and WOW. There's that bass I was missing!
 
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CoryGillmore

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On top of the Sony tips being the best tips in my experience. I also want to stress the importance of NOT inserting the tips too deeply into your ears. I have found this IEM to be quite dependent on how deeply it is inserted in your ear, and if you overdo it by inserting them too deeply, you will lose soundstage and bass quantity/quality. It really can be a dramatic reduction in sound quality if you push these in too deep, something to keep in mind my dudes.

I'm still enjoying these IEMs on a daily basis for several hours a day. Even still it took me over a month to figure out how to get the absolute best out of them haha. I was finding myself being extremely underwhelmed by the SQ at times and then being blown away at times. Finally figured out that less is more when it comes to insertion. Something my exGF does not agree with but hey the Sony is a classy gal, my exGF not so much...
 
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