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Pioneer CH3: First Impressions
These arrived earlier today and I've put a couple hours on them listening to tracks from Supertramp (Crime of the Century and Rudy), Michael Jackson (P.Y.T.), Dillon Francis (Look At That Butt and We The Funk), among others. Take this with a grain of salt as per usual when it comes to first impressions. Source is my Asus FX53V with the Radsone ES100 running amping duties via USB.
Build and Comfort:
These are lean but lengthily (comparatively) measuring in at 6mm in circumference at their widest (nozzle is ~5.5mm) and 17mm long. The shells are extremely lightweight being made from aluminum and are composed of two parts; the front portion being bare silver, the rear painted black. Protruding out of the rear portion is a long, flexible strain relief done up similarly to the classic Yahama EPH-100. Like many other Japanese products I have, the cable is a traditional, fairly thin rubber-sheathed affair with a tiny, well-relieved 90 degree angled jack. Not the sort of cable that will last long with someone that doesn't take care of their gear. Comfort is outstanding. Given the small size and light weight, these disappear in the ear. Really nice to wear, though there is a fair of cable noise when wearing them cable down.
U-shape with a touch of warmth and some kick in the treble. Seems like a reasonably traditional Japanese tune to me. Treble has some nice shimmer on cymbals that i'm sure will irritate those of you sensitive to those regions, just like my precious, the JVC HA-FXH30. I like it. They show off tons of detail and come across really clear and crisp with a lot more air between notes than I was expecting from such a tiny driver (5.5mm graphene coated). Sounds really nice with the mellow cymbals, piano and strings on 'Crime of the Century'. Mids are set back slightly, similar in presence to the Final E2000 but a bit more forward. Vocals are well weighted without coming across too thin or dense and display a fair bit of texture, as heard on Calyx & TeeBee's "Long Gone". They're not quite as clear as the E2000 though. I wasn't expecting much from the low end given the CH3 uses some of the smallest drivers I've come across, but it can kick pretty well. Sub-bass isn't particularly prominent but it extends well enough to give you some physical feedback. Overall bass quantity is less than the E2000, and much less than the FXH30 with a better mid-/sub-bass balance than either imo. It seems to display that "need it when it's asked for, stays out of the way when not" quality. On Getter's "Headsplitter" or Evil Nine's "Black Brad Pitt" the bassline that carries the track does just that. On Havok's "Covering Fire" it plays more of a support role. Sound stage seems good too with a rounder presentation than the narrow but deep FXH30.
I'm pretty satisfied. They seem to display traits of both the FXH30 and E2000 which are some of my fav budget iems, but with a more reserved low end and in a smaller, more comfortable shell. The cable is underwhelming and sub-bass extension could be better but given the driver size I'm willing to give that a pass esp. given they extend as well as they do.
I read about oxygen-free copper:
"...The benefits are obvious, with almost no crystal boundaries, the audio signal is no longer impeded down the copper wire and more information and detail is delivered faithfully to the receiving equipment..."
Hmmm...copper crystal boundaries...I am more familiar with Scotty's dilithium crystals.
Spoiler: Dilithium Crystals
The crystal lattice of copper (or any metal except the Au group) contains small impurities. The removal of oxygen atoms counteracts corrosion and increases conductivity. The question is to which degree and how the human ear perceives it. How does the oxygen know what sounds nice to my ear? Couldn't it be that improved conduction means that the music arrives too early at the earphone, and then it is held up by the internal wiring, which is of a different, less pure material? This bottleneck could cause sonic chaos in every audiophile. What? But the biggest bottleneck could the player's output impedance.
Conductivity can be measured: https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/headphone-cable-measurements-part-one-page-2
And the science does exist! We know everything about black holes, but we don't know much about impedance?
The flow of electrons along a typical earphone cable is so small that these impurities should make essentially no difference to the transfer of "information and detail".
But this may be wrong as science is everybody's own opinion
P.S. There is lots of discussion about different sounding power supplies of Hifi gear. Now picture how comical this analogy would be with a dap or phone: sound differences depending on the battery composition and battery wiring. I am waiting for the audiophile battery to arrive.
Where to get these in Canada - this is the only source I can find.
Price? I can't imagine spending more than $30 on a pair of headphones without removable cables.
They are less than $30 unless you have to import from somewhere. Interested if they clear up some with more hours on them.
Almost grabbed a pair when they where $20 on Amazon recently. Still only $26.99 though there is a damaged box pair for $19-ish on US Amazon atm.
The west? Which west , which brands...
Visions.ca has them on for 28 CAD right now; here. Going to be sending them a message because they dropped the price a good 20 CAD the day after I bought them during their Black Friday sale...
Thanks a bunch and good luck with your recovery (these fluctuations bite).
Though the jury is still out on what they are doing here. This may be the new driver for future models. Very interesting CNT/DLC with Tesla magnet which can hold some promise. They might have gone with pretty solid cable and save some potential for the better models in the future. Not automatically the IT01 recipe with really good cable and solid driver. IT01s may just have some more potential with good cables. We will see and also if any filters will fit the nozzles. Both make the 01s even a little more interesting.
They're plenty clear. Not veiled or anything. I paid 48 CAD and am happy with the buy, though less so now that Visions.ca has the real sale going on right now...
I mean to end up matching the E2000 which is obviously what this was meant to compete with.
I found yet another cable that looks identical to the DMGs.
NICEHCK Single Crystal Copper Mixed Silver Plated Cable 3.5/2.5/4.4mm Plug MMCX/2Pin Connector For ZS10 AS10 BA10 NICEHCK M6/HK8
$79 for NiceHCKs version. I suspect Ibasso is using something more closer to this cable than what is on the DMGs. Which sells for $20 by the way.
I just submitted my order and threaten everybody with my review. Thanks again for the tip. The Hifi Walker A1 had similar weird fluctuations.
Wonder whether the Pioneer is similar to the Sony MH1C - on the best of list of Shot+++shane.