The Watercooler-- Impressions, philosophical discussion and general banter. Index on first page. All welcome.
May 4, 2021 at 12:49 AM Post #167 of 10,580

Rockwell75

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@Rockwell75 i think I’m starting to hate you. 😂 you’re making me want both the dorado and andromeda… if you had to pick one, which would it be? For an all-arounder, not one in a rotation.

Dorado...because I love me some DD bass and mids.
 
May 4, 2021 at 12:57 AM Post #169 of 10,580

Rockwell75

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And if you had to pick from all the IEMs you’ve tried?

This is my ranking list as of right now. It's basically the order I'd buy them (as such the top 3 in the list are the ones I currently own).

1) Elysium
2) Dorado 2020
3a) Andromeda 2020
3b) VE8
4) IER Z1R
5) Solaris SE
6) Solaris OG
7) Andromeda MW10
8) OG MEST
9) LX
10) VX
11) a) MEST Mkii
11) b) Nio

DD mids are my current fascination and the top 2 in this list specialize in that.

What sort of sound are you after? What sort of music do you listen to?
 
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May 4, 2021 at 4:00 AM Post #170 of 10,580

torifile

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This is my ranking list as of right now. It's basically the order I'd buy them (as such the top 3 in the list are the ones I currently own).

1) Elysium
2) Dorado 2020
3a) Andromeda 2020
3b) VE8
4) IER Z1R
5) Solaris SE
6) Solaris OG
7) Andromeda MW10
8) OG MEST
9) LX
10) VX
11) a) MEST Mkii
11) b) Nio

DD mids are my current fascination and the top 2 in this list specialize in that.

What sort of sound are you after? What sort of music do you listen to?
Singer/songwriter, “alternative” as descriptive as that might be, hip hop, some rock. Occasional jazz and classical. I want mostly as the artist intended with a slight bass boost. Most of the time. There are times I do want the bass to hit pretty hard.

Most of my listening will be flac through my Wm1a.
 
May 4, 2021 at 5:17 AM Post #171 of 10,580

Nalin

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Some Andromeda 2020 Impressions...

I'm hooked on these little green beauties. They are easily among the most instantly likeable and addicting IEMs I’ve heard. I’ve thrown the full extent of my musical tastes at them and, while the dynamic lows of my Dorado 2020, and the organic mids and etheric highs of Elysium are certainly missed at times the Andro 2020 hasn’t hit a false note for me yet. It's really connecting with me in a way that the OG (or the Gold) Andro never did. I am taken back to last summer, when I previously owned the Andromeda 2020, one day I was riding my bike through the park as the sun was setting, with the Andromeda singing in my ears and I remember at one point I was consciously trying to formulate some impressions and comparisons in my head when "Down In It" by St. Germain came on and before I knew it I was completely sucked into the moment-- I promptly forgot all about trying to organize my thoughts and just rolled with the music for a while in a state of bliss. It's precisely this sort of experience that lets me know I'm in the presence of greatness with an IEM. This is by no means the first time I've had an experience like this but each time it happens I'm left with the nascent feeling that everything else I can say sound/signature/characteristics of the IEM is merely window dressing next to the fact that it can sweep me off my feet like that. I fully and completely understand the enduring charm of this IEM.

While I’ve heard some pretty great all BA IEMs, and while some are more impressive technically I'm not sure any are more enjoyable to listen to on the whole for me. Some brief comparisons:

vs. u12t => My lack of enthusiasm for this IEM is well founded so I will try and be as diplomatic as possible. The u12t has better bass decay but Andromeda sacrifices a bit of the raw detail and separation of the u12t for a more musical and engaging signature. This is not a knock against the u12t which, when measured against its aim of being a reference monitor is pretty much flawless. I think fundamentally these two are the Mars and Venus of IEMs. The u12t, being decidedly reference-like and analytic in nature evokes a more intellectual response-- its engagement factor is derived from the precision, order and detail that characterizes its signature. The Andromeda, by contrast, evokes a more emotional response-- it is less concerned with raw technicalities and details and is more concerned with sweeping you off your feet and casting its spell on you. The u12t stimulates your intellect, the Andromeda tugs at your heart. IMHO neither approach is superior to the other—it really depends on you and what you’re after-- but my heart is with the Andromeda as it just so happens that I'm personally not really after a fully reference type signature.

vs. Anole VX => It's been a while since I've heard the VX but my memory recalls it being slightly more detailed, resolving and "cleaner" sounding...it was also just a touch too vivid in the lower treble/upper mid region and ultimately too fatiguing for me with many recordings.

vs. VE8 => Of the aforementioned 3 BA IEMs I have prior experience with the Andromeda 2020, to my ears, probably most resembles the VE8 in terms of tuning philosophy and execution. The VE8 also has a signature that targets emotional engagement over technical proficiency and, along with Andro 2020, it is characterized by a slightly forward and evocative midrange. It's early days comparing these IEMs so far and I plan to do a more detailed shootout between them while I still have @1TrickPony 's VE8. The two biggest differences between these IEMs for me off the bat is that the VE8 is in some ways a thicker, more luscious, ("gooier" if that's a term) sound than the Andromeda. The VE8 hooks you with its natural mid-range timbre and seductive voicing, the Andromeda with its top end air and sparkle..choose your poison. I personally can't get enough of either IEM.

JQMA4173.JPEG
One thing that I like about BA bass is it's fast decay, even with such hefty mid bass slam that comes with Andro 2020 it never gets congested or sort of gives that vibrating feeling that is headache inducing if one listen at loud volumes. It's grand yet weightless and lightning quick at the same time.
 
May 4, 2021 at 8:42 AM Post #172 of 10,580

bobeau

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When you disregard the army of memers and muppets out there hyping this thing there are no doubt people (like Mr. @HiFiHawaii808 below) who seem to genuinely love it. My thoughts fall along similar lines as yours.

Tonal preferences are mostly subjective-- the fact that the Dusk curve gets touted as some sort of "neutral" is to me a testament of how differently people can hear things. To you what sounds "sublime" is to me a shouty, lifeless fatiguing mess...again, YMMV. Conversely to me the Andromeda 2020 is about as muddy as I am Chinese.

At least we can agree on the 3DT :)

Haven't heard the Dusk, but I'm a Western listener who is a fan of this type of tuning, at least up top (Harman is a bit aggressive for me).

I have a theory that the difference isn't just a matter of taste, but it may a measure of relative volume.

I found out from a couple Canjams that I'm a low volume listener. Almost every single rig the prior listener was at was set to uncomfortably loud for me - probably 5-8 dB too high for me. Of course that's at a headphone meet so people are boosting things more than they might in normal conditions, but I think relatively speaking, this difference holds true for daily listening.

Maybe I'm interpreting this wrong, but it seems Fletcher-Munson dictates that at lower volume, that region of the curve, as well as the sub bass, is going to need a bump to sound the same.
 
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May 4, 2021 at 8:51 AM Post #173 of 10,580

Rockwell75

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Singer/songwriter, “alternative” as descriptive as that might be, hip hop, some rock. Occasional jazz and classical. I want mostly as the artist intended with a slight bass boost. Most of the time. There are times I do want the bass to hit pretty hard.

Most of my listening will be flac through my Wm1a.

Now that you've clarified that I would probably rec the Andromeda over the Dorado...but I think you might really like the Elysium too. Just be advised that it likes power so don't plan on running it off your iPhone or something.

Haven't heard the Dusk, but I'm a Western listener who is a fan of this type of tuning, at least up top (Harman is a bit aggressive for me).

I have a theory that the difference isn't just a matter of taste, but it may a measure of relative volume.

I found out from a couple Canjams that I'm a low volume listener. Almost every single rig the prior listener was at was set to uncomfortably loud for me - probably 5-8 dB too high for me. Of course that's at a headphone meet so people are boosting things more than they might in normal conditions, but I think relatively speaking, this difference holds true for daily listening.

Maybe I'm interpreting this wrong, but it seems Fletcher-Munson dictates that at lower volume, that region of the curve, as well as the sub bass, is going to need a bump to sound the same.

That's a really good point and it's something I've wondered about. I'm probably a mid-volume listener myself (depending on background noise). Perhaps this is another thing that should be spelled out by reviewers.
 
May 4, 2021 at 9:04 AM Post #174 of 10,580

bobeau

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That's a really good point and it's something I've wondered about. I'm probably a mid-volume listener myself (depending on background noise). Perhaps this is another thing that should be spelled out by reviewers.

One of the things that's catching on in the speaker world, first happening in pro audio and now hifi (Genelec, Dutch and Dutch, Kii, Neumann) is having fully contained 'wireless' systems w/ DSP. DSP is great to anechoic-ally EQ the speakers to neutral and add room correction, but also allows the ability to handle things like this. My Buchardt A500s do correct for this down low but not in the upper mids which is a bit frustrating (but they *could* seeing how this is all done in the digital domain and they come with various tunings that alter how they function).

So I think it's just one of those things, if you're in the analog domain, you're gonna have to just find a target curve that speaks to you and run with it for future purchases. I do feel the future includes DSP, and we'll probably see this really become a thing w/ True Wireless firmware first then percolate out to being built into audio player software.
 
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May 4, 2021 at 9:08 AM Post #175 of 10,580

Rockwell75

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One of the things that's catching on in the speaker world, first happening in pro audio (Genelec and now Neumann) is having fully contained 'wireless' systems w/ DSP. DSP is great to anechoic-ally EQ the speakers to neutral and add room correction, but also allows the ability to handle things like this. My Buchardt A500s do correct for this down low but not in the upper mids which is a bit frustrating (but they *could* seeing how this is all done in the digital domain and they come with various tunings that alter how they function).

So I think it's just one of those things, if you're in the analog domain, you're gonna have to just find a target curve that speaks to you and run with it for future purchases. I do feel the future includes DSP, and we'll probably see this really become a thing w/ True Wireless firmware first then percolate out to being built into audio player software.

I actually heard someone somewhere talking about this sort of tech in IEMs in the future, where corrections could be made based on the individual ear geometry of the listener...that would really be something.

But yeah, one of the advantages of hearing many different IEMs is you start to hone in on your own target preferences-- for me whenever I hear talk of an upper mid/lower treble emphasis I tend to avoid it or, in the case of something really popular like Odin, resolve not to blind buy until I've had a chance do demo.
 
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May 4, 2021 at 9:51 AM Post #176 of 10,580

torifile

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Now that you've clarified that I would probably rec the Andromeda over the Dorado...but I think you might really like the Elysium too. Just be advised that it likes power so don't plan on running it off your iPhone or something.
I know I like the sound of the Andros (at least the OG I had). I'm just worried about the hiss. I'm very sensitive to it. I guess with CA's return policy, risk is low I'd be stuck with them if the hiss is too bad. Lots to think about...
 
May 4, 2021 at 10:45 AM Post #177 of 10,580

Rockwell75

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I know I like the sound of the Andros (at least the OG I had). I'm just worried about the hiss. I'm very sensitive to it. I guess with CA's return policy, risk is low I'd be stuck with them if the hiss is too bad. Lots to think about...

The 1A is a hiss monster with CFA IEMs...maybe you should upgrade that :p
 
May 4, 2021 at 11:26 AM Post #178 of 10,580

Rockwell75

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Mini shootout I did between the IER Z1R and 64 Audio Nio

F0497852-1521-42AD-8EAB-C58DF1F3D96C.JPEG



Of the 3, based on my impressions, the Nio and Z1R are the clear favorites. The Z1R is really impressing me on this second round (I owned one for about a month a couple summers ago). Holy Mary Mother of Balls does Z1R's bass sound good through the M8. Shanling's stated intent to provide a signature as smooth, powerful and alluring as carved jade is really coming to fruition here...Z1R + M8 is possibly the nicest standalone bass I've heard in a portable setup. Any fears that the M8 and Z1R wouldn't compliment each other well are entirely unfounded to my ears. Could the Z1R be the more v-shaped compliment to Ely I'm seeking...time will tell. The treble on the Z1R is also really nice though having gotten used to Elysium's treble it's not quite as impressive as it was the first time I heard it. The Z1R's treble can be a touch metallic at times and I often wonder if DD treble has a tendency towards this because all the times I've really noticed it have been in DD IEMs. The treble on the VE Elysium has pretty much entirely converted me to the school of e-stat treble...it's detail, speed, clarity and if done well lack of harshness and bite...is unbeatable.

I've got a newfound love and respect for the Z1R right now. It helps that the longer stemmed Sedna tips (that I didn't have before) seem to be entirely mitigating any fit issues I had when I owned it. Further, my source at the time of owning Z1R was the n6ii + A01-- that particular board tended to bump the mid-bass slghtly and that may have exaggerated the slightly veiled mids on Z1R. I still notice this to some extent but it's not bothering me as much now.

Really liking the bass on the Nio...it's a bit more technical/detailed than I was expecting on the whole and altogether it's a fun and engaging listen. That said if I were to own one I'd probably EQ down 2 and 4K by a couple DB each.

The M9 has failed to connect with me so far, but I will try again. Initial impressions are that the M9 is like a u12t with thicker bass and a dash more personality-- though neither the u12t or M9 IEMs seem like they will take down Andro and VE8 as my favorite BA IEMs.

Mini shootout:

**+Nio =>**
Decent Mid-range presence and instrumental timbre, vocals nicely placed in the mix, great balance, decently detailed, layered and technical, impactful slightly elevated controlled bass.

**-Nio =>** Not quite as technical (layering, staging, imaging etc.) as some other hybrids I've heard (Z1R, Solaris, Legend X, MEST), can be a little shouty in the 3-5K region at times though this can be remedied for the most part with EQ, mid range is nicely detailed but too thin for my tastes on the whole.

**+Z1R =>** Peerless bass texture & extension, which the M8 absolutely milks for everything it's worth (seriously this is a heavenly pairing), fantastic staging and technicalities, great mid-range texture, if a little too tucked behind a veil of bass at times (though admittedly this is nowhere near as noticable on my M8 as it was on my n6ii+a01), a really fun and engaging sound overall.

**-Z1R =>** A little too v-shaped for me to be my only IEM (ie., as with the MEST often I find myself zoning out on the amazing bass whereas in my ideal setup my attention is drawn to the whole of the sound), highs can be a touch metallic-- though I wouldn't go so far as to say "harsh--" at times. Definitely tends towards "Chi-fi" tuning (upper mid/lower treble/sub-bass emphasis over mid-bass and lower mids).

**In summary:** My overall preference is for a balanced, open, natural and accessible midrange-- which is why I tend to gravitate primarily to "bass lite" IEMs like Elysium, Solaris SE and Andro. If I had to pick one of the Z1R, Nio or M9 to be my only IEM it would be the Nio due to its more balanced and accessible mid-range. The Z1R is shaping up to be my ideal choice as a secondary more "fun sounding" IEM to complement Ely. I didn't mention the M9 as much as I've only had a bit of time with it and haven't really connected with it-- it honestly sounds like someone took an Andro 2020, thickened the bass and sucked the heart and soul out of the sound.
 
May 4, 2021 at 12:25 PM Post #180 of 10,580

snapandslide

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The 1A is a hiss monster with CFA IEMs...maybe you should upgrade that :p
The one thing I would say - you definitely missed out something with the Z1R and not trying it with the 1A and custom firmware. It’s epic. Definitely worth keeping the 1A just for that 😉
 

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