5 EB first impressions (upgraded from e2c)
Jan 1, 2008 at 2:21 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11


100+ Head-Fier
Feb 24, 2004
I previously had some Shure e2c's, but the cord on them frayed and so I sent them back to Shure for a replacement. I plan on selling the replacement (PM if you are interested) because they will be new in box. I always loved how clear the e2cs sounded in everything except the bass, which I found it to be lacking. The bass was not too terribly bad on the shures because I found the bass very tight, just couldnt go very low. I guess I expected the low deep bass in my home theater, with the clarity and detail to match it. So anyways, after reading many reviews I am I got the 5EB because I thought they would have the clarity of the e2cs, but with the deep low bass I was seeking.

I just picked up my new EBs from the post office 30 mins ago and I am listening to them now. My first impression is that these IEMs are REALLY MUDDY. They kind of remind me of my old Koss Plugs. I am kind of disappointed at how muddy they sound right now. The highs seem to be more piercing than the e2cs, but they seem to be lacking the smoothness and clarity of my e2cs. The bass on these really does seem to muddy everything up and overpowers everything. Some people compare the bass of the EBs to a car subwoofer, but I dont think this is accurate at all(compared to my car sub anyways). I actually like the sound of my car's 10" sealed sub and I was hoping the EBs would have the deep and controlled bass similar to my car (and home theatre). I would say the bass is even worse than my sister's Logitech z2300 sub due to how boomy and humpy it sounds. The z2300s sound like there is a midrange hump, whereas the 5EBs seem to have a bass hump at around 60hz(guessing) which sounds worse to me. I actually think the z2300 system sounds smooth compared to the 5 EBs right now. The bass on the 5EBs just doesnt seem to be as low and smooth as with the subs I am used to and these IEMs make music sound very heavy/hefty. I should also mention that the 5EBs dont actually seem to go as low as the various subwoofers I am used to, but maybe this is because the bass hump overpowers the very low frequencies. I dont exactly know how to describe the midrange/highs of these IEMs because right now, my brain is being overpowered by the muddy and boomy low frequencies.

I then tried to watch some movie clips (scenes with little bass and mostly dialogue) with this IEM and my experience got a bit better. These IEMs seem to have more detail and crispness than the e2cs. Everything still sounded a bit hefty, but I like the extra crispness and detail. So I really am thinking that these have the potential to be awesome IEMs if only the lower frequencies didnt muddy everything up.

In terms of fit, these IEMs are HUGE and they stick out of my ear. However, they are just as comfortable as my old e2c's so I dont really care. The weird design also makes it feel weird when putting the earphones in my ear, but I guess I will just have to get used to it. I am using my old e2c small tips with these IEMs right now. I will try different tips later, but the shure tips are made of a thicker rubber and dont feel as cheap as the tips provided by the 5EB. The isolation is not as good at the e2c's, but I still cant decide whether that is a good or bad thing.

However, like I said, I have done quite a bit of reading before I bought these IEMs. Even before my purchase, I was aware of the many complaints of people who seem to have a similar first impression as me. I just did not realize it would be this bad. I am actually a bit of a basshead myself, but wow...after listening to these IEMs I now know what muddy really is. I am also aware that almost everyone says these IEMs will sound much better broken in (200hrs?) which is exactly what I am going to do. Do you guys think the type of music I play will change the future sound signature of these IEMs? eg. Will playing "tight" music make these IEMs sound more tight, whereas big bass music will make the bass sound more loose?

I am not trying to say these IEMs are horrible because this is just my first impression. Hopefully the bass and muddyness will tighten up after I break these earphones in, so I am going to be patient. I really want to like these because the reviews really suggest this will be the earphone for me (after they break in). To all the other 5EB users, were your first impressions similar to mine? Can you honestly say that after the break-in you really started to love these earphones?
Jan 1, 2008 at 3:37 AM Post #2 of 11
Congrats on your purchase! E2C's don't sell too well...I'm replacing them for the fourth time, because I know I won't even get near the price I got it at, even IF they're new. They're truly a write-off once you've found something better.

Jan 2, 2008 at 4:04 PM Post #3 of 11
Holy cow, I was never a firm believer in burn-in but I think these earphones have made me a believer. Break in didnt seem to make a difference with my e2cs but then I was also younger and my ear was less critical (even though I dont consider my ears that sensitive/critical right now).

In my first 24 hrs when I wasnt using the 5EBs, I burned them in with bass heavy music which seemed to make a very small difference, but still felt like the music became less muddy. I then burned them in with pink noise on the second night (right now its my third day with these IEMs) and everything seems to have opened up much more. They honestly sound much clearer now that the bass isnt muddying everything up. The sound still feels a bit heavy, but it's so much better compared to the first day I had these. Bass actually seems to extend lower and its less thumpy, but maybe that is because the midbass cleared up a bit. Maybe I am under a placebo effect, I dunno. All I know is that I am enjoying these IEMs much more now (under 48hrs burn in), which is what matters. I cant wait to see how these will sound after 200 hrs of pink noise!
Jan 2, 2008 at 4:20 PM Post #4 of 11
You know what EB stands for? Extra Bass! Superfi 5EB has two drivers, one balanced armature for mids and highs and dynamic for bass. The dynamic probaply needs some burn-in as you also noticed, but the EB isnt very liked here.

The Superfi 5 Pro has two drivers too, but balanced armature handling the bass instead of dynamic. People say its more balanced sounding.
Jan 2, 2008 at 6:27 PM Post #6 of 11
hey nobb. your thoughts totally mirror my initial impressions upon hearing the EBs. trust me, after 3-4 weeks of 24/7 use (preferably with bass-heavy music) they will sound a lot better. they also respond very well to eq'ing. you are correct, there is a lower midrange hump in the frequency response and it extends down to the upper/midbass. you need to eq down that lower midrange, i'm talking about the 120-500 hz range, and the muddiness immediately goes away.

trust me these are keepers, you don't understand how badly i was disappointed with these out of the box. i thought i had thrown away $140. it's been 4 months now and i've since had a complete 180: these are amazing IEMs that i sometimes prefer over even all my fullsize cans.

i use them out of a cowon d2 usually, and sometimes with the comp setup. they're spectacular out of both (with very slight eq'ing).
Jan 3, 2008 at 6:00 AM Post #7 of 11
davidr2287: That's strange, everyone seems to say that armature based drivers are not affected by break-in.

Shahrose: After 3-4 weeks, did you find the bass to be overpowering? Does music still sound hefty? I am guessing there is probably still some type of midbass hump. Its been over 48 hrs of break-in now and these IEMs really seem to have opened up.
Jan 5, 2008 at 2:50 PM Post #9 of 11
Well its been exactly 6 days since having these IEMs and I am guessing they have a little over 100 hours of use. The sound signature of these earphones seem to have changed the most in the first few days of use, now I can barely hear a difference between the days. But I can honestly say I LOVE these IEMs now. Bass is slightly exaggerated the way I want, but does NOT muddy everything up. The bass feels much more controlled now and even seems to extend lower because everything isnt attenuated from the big midbass hump. There still seems to be a slight hump though, especially during some bass beats. These truly are a fun phone to have. And thanks for everyone's great comments. In addition to the actually break in effects, your comments probably contributed to some type of placebo effect, making me subconsciously enjoy these IEMs even more =)
Jan 5, 2008 at 9:49 PM Post #10 of 11
the bass actually goes down after full burn in. but it becomes more controlled. with some slight eq'ing, these are pretty much perfect IEMs (for me). it will reproduce insanely powerful much as you feed it from your source without interfering with the rest of the frequency spectrum. if you turn it up 30db, it will reproduce 30db extended bass distortion, no crackling nothing. that's what i love about them; they respond well to eq. their normal tonal balance is slightly dark with a lower midrange hump; this seems to give them a "muddy" presentation with some songs.
Jan 5, 2008 at 10:29 PM Post #11 of 11
Yeah I had the same issue straight out of the box, wanted to love them but wasn't really feeling it with how it was sounding. After just 10-20 hours of some continual music burn in though it cleared up quite a bit. Im now quite pleased with these, and I agree with all posters that speak to these phones ability to EQ well.

A real trip is comparing these directly to my etys. Really makes all vocals (male or female) seem to slap you in the face with the etys. The 5EBs on the other hand seem to keep the voice "further back" if you will, more immersed in the music than a separate entity. Just what I noticed in any case, but I did notice that the upper frequencies seemed less overpowered with the 125-500 Hz EQed down a tad.

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