The Watercooler -- Impressions, philosophical discussion and general banter. Index on first page. All welcome.
Feb 16, 2024 at 5:38 AM Post #81,451 of 86,783
Yeah I have no self control 😂


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Feb 16, 2024 at 5:38 AM Post #81,452 of 86,783
You are a master of rhetoric. This reads like an appeasement of the shitstorm (justified or not), that recently spread across UM. It gives the AP its authority without referencing the Mason's new technology. Well done.

The problems with all the reviews/impressions I read here, I can't believe any of this until I tested it myself. It's really hard to differentiate between people, that get a 35% discount or more and people, who are spending much more to verify all those hyped products and lose a lot in sale afterwards. No offense, I think everybody has his own opinion, but as a master of sale; I also know what to tell and what not. Keep in mind this is a big business everybody, those stuff cost more than cars do...

Sometimes I wish a more direct communication, more truthful, more real. We are the audiophiles, we are spending a big part of our salaries, we are the people that like to test new things, to find something "better" or "worse", so let us be honest to each other and mark commercial posts as in television or in Google.

BTW: Where can I buy those? (😂 just kidding)

On the price tag I think UM's target market are six-to-seven figure salary buyers and not the 99% who would have to miss rent or food payments

I do not quite understand the review ending "Why settle for being in the concert hall, when you can become the one who plays the instrument and feel the vibrations yourself." That could just be a reviewer flourish to explain there is a lot of realism or detail. When I listen to music I would not actually want the headphone to sound like being in the seat of the performer. And recorded music is not like that
Feb 16, 2024 at 6:07 AM Post #81,453 of 86,783
A big issue with perception of how UM runs their buisness might be in how diverse the community is in regard of finance. There will be plenty of millionaires on headfi, plenty of very well earning people. Some have okaish income, for some buying a 4-6k IEM means spending 2-3 monthly salaries on a an IEM. Many are putting money aside for many month to afford something they feel very passionate about. The latter are not the target audience of UM anymore it seems, the company is targeting whales and high income people with frequent expensive releases. From the buisness perspective its probably smart thing to do to monetize on FOMO and the opportunity in a short run. Still it leaves an aftertaste and makes you question of how complicated the development of a new product must be for the brand. And if the cost is justified.

Buying something like Caldera I know that the maker worked for many years on the product and we will not see a replacement within few month, which significantly adds value to the product in my eyes. Same goes for many small IEM studios or solo makers that are well regarded in the communtiy and had only few releases.
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Feb 16, 2024 at 6:27 AM Post #81,454 of 86,783
Hello, @gLer !
Thanks for the review, I totally agree that Chromatic series are being good value picks on the current market, while it’s still a question for one’s preference either to pick Bonneville as more coherent but dark IEM or more technically proficient Supermoon which having some timbre issues as the series flagship.
One thing with the photos - they are stylish as usual but i feel that being black on black hides IEMs body details as the contours being actually very different from a model to model.
Thanks for the feedback. Yes before the review I'd have guessed Supermoon might be the outright winner, but I definitely prefer Bonneville, since Supermoon is more of a specialist and isn't ideal for some types of music in my opinion.

As for the pics, yeah, I was going for the black on black just to reveal the faceplates. More abstract than descriptive. I've included a few shots showing off the profiles, but for me they all look and fit basically the same (other than the custom Supermoon). I wouldn't a really be able to tell which was which in a blind test based on fit.
Feb 16, 2024 at 6:33 AM Post #81,456 of 86,783
I'm a 2-Digit income guy and still foolishly bought STORM and Annihilator 23 Ti :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I don't care, I'm broke but happy at the very least :sunglasses:
Sharing the same feeling :beerchug:
Feb 16, 2024 at 6:47 AM Post #81,457 of 86,783
What you mean QC issue? I think Fatfreq have fixed their GM with new case and design? Hmmm i dont mind with Fatfreq issue if there is one, i live in SEA i can just visit their store. Lol.
I've been seeing less to no complaints recently regarding their QC, now is mostly about shipping times as they're struggling to catch up with their current backlog.
Feb 16, 2024 at 6:50 AM Post #81,458 of 86,783
So, these PMG Audio Apx?

What I look for in my hi-fi listening are products whose general behavior and sound are closest to the sensations of live music. It must be lively, as dynamic as possible, with nuanced transients (from murmurs to extreme violence). The questions of whether it's "neutral" or "straight" or "transparent" don't interest me at all. What I look for are balanced and homogeneous products, both in bandwidth and texture. I'm also interested in "definition" and "resolution": it has to be as high as possible, but still natural. It's like a TV with too high or not enough sharpness. You have to find the right gradient. So I like “on the razor’s edge” products. You also need material, harmonic richness. Overtly analytical sounds don't interest me at all... because they aren't realistic. The same goes for the opposite, when I think it's too "round", or too "warm", or lacking "brilliance" and "bite" (these are purely musical notions by the way) . The stories of "musicality" also seem completely abstract to me...

Anyway, this is what I'm looking for. If a recording, a piece, a track is aggressive, then it should sound like that. If it's soft, well it must sound "soft", if it is... we will understand.

PMG Audio Apx:

Well, we'll move on to the price of the beast... 6000 bucks. Everyone will judge. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

For my part, the more expensive a product is, the less impressionable I am and the more demanding and difficult person I am. A real bip. :dt880smile:

Otherwise, I only judge "in absolute terms", and my barometer is "I have the goosebump" or not. Simple, pure. Stories like "it's very good for the price" or considerations of that type are not mine. It works or it doesn't work, I am affected or not only by what I hear and listen to and feel to. Period. Afterwards yes, there is a qualitative, intrinsic scale but between products that work well, this scale is frankly not that large.

The price, the technologies are therefore first of all informations for me, and what interests me, really, is what remains: the sound of course, but above all the music. :grinning:

On the other hand, I like beautiful objects, I freely confess. Also the question of ergonomics and comfort are absolutely essential. How does it suit me to have in my hands the best earphones in the world if they don't fit in my ears :deadhorse:

For the APX, the object itself is beautiful, undeniably qualitative, made with noble materials (amber for the faceplates)... but I was not touched more than that by the aesthetics. At the same time we had the Aure Elixir and Ringo on the table, and for my part, there is no contest, for these 2 luxury products, in comparison.

On the other hand, a matter of wonder, the APX are... very small ! :heart_eyes:

It's a tour de force considering the number of drivers and the nature of the drivers, it's just extraordinary...

Then, I found the fit to be just exceptional for universal earphones. In any case, with my ear shape, it was like wearing custom-made shoes... For me it's the best fit and comfort I've ever gotten, followed by my Ringos. :beerchug:

Alas, I know that for my friend @lafeuill it didn't happen like that at all... :scream:

Then the sound insulation was excellent. Among the best I have ever experienced with universal earphones, on the same level as my Ringos, who are also on the podium from this particular point of view.

Finally, from an ergonomic point of view, the cable is excellent: thin, super flexible, nothing to say. It is also very qualitative, in terms of the materials used and the quality of manufacturing. On the other hand, at a purely sound level, I have the idea that we can go further, by choosing a few very specific associations.

Sound and lights:

For listening, the stock cable was chosen. Indeed, the 2 pins must be forced "a little" when changing cables and therefore @gmfg1 asked us not to change cables.

For the DAP, we had on hand the RS8 from @gmfg1 , the N8II (AB mode) from @Zeben and therefore the m1p from me.

In all 3 cases, the APX gave a very faithful partition of the 3 daps, a sign of an excellent transparency:

- RS8, the most "soft" (quotes because it's more complicated than that), the most organic maybe, r2r inside. I found the best marriage.
- m1p the most spontaneous and direct, the most technical, Sabre inside. On the verge of a fault but just on the limit. Ultra vivid.
- N8II at the crossroads, AB load.

In all 3 cases, excellent results in themselves, just different presentations and more or less good synergies. Imo (but there was consensus) the RS8 was the best choice.
For the tips, I used my "endgame" narrow gel cat paws tips ( : perfect. :beerchug:

Otherwise how does it work? :L3000:

Well it flies. :dt880smile:

Seriously, it ticks absolutely all my boxes: balanced, bass loud when needed and the opposite when not needed, extreme finesse and refinement (high), openness, true dynamics (rare), crystal transparency, definition and resolution at the max of the max of the max, but without the need to “rig” the target curve : no tuning trickery. It is also remarkable for its coherence and homogeneity. At no time does the idea of listening to a hybrid montage arise.

We also obtain a restitution of great class, of great finesse which recalls the best sedentary systems (we had one a few meters from us all... and which was able to have its "small" effect :ksc75smile:) , when it comes to the richness and the realism of the timbres and tones for example.

On the other hand, be careful: formula 1 in the garage... :scream:

With the m1p and N8II, the high midrange on certain ranges could be borderline faulty (for example certain intense electric guitars chops). It reminded me of the Final A8000 from this particular point of view (but a way more refined version for the APX, and more natural). It can be VERY intense. Personally, I love it, and in particular these products on the razor's edge that you have to somehow tame to achieve their quintessence.

From then on, we talked about it, but the idea of testing a few elite cables would undoubtedly be a good initiative. In particular, I think about my Ares S FE would do wonders... the problem is getting one because people have to go over my dead body :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I'm thinking of the Yatono Ultimate from Brise which would undoubtedly be a interesting move. Maybe an Orpheus (shielded?), because it's a very (too?) soft but technical sounding cable, very dense and textured (not really my thing, the latter, but the synergies always have the last word :grinning:) .

Conclusion :

Well “unfortunately”, it works. Super strongly and “by itself”.

It's a sound and musical profile that I would describe as "reference / balanced / mature / intense but under control / alive".

In short, this product, soundly and musically wise absolutely ticks ALL my boxes... and believe me these are not boxes easy to tick.

The €6,000 question: would I buy them?


I win something and I have €6k on hand, just like this ?

Yes, twice... :heart_eyes::L3000:

Are my current champions ridiculous, ridiculoused, dropped, crushed, pulverized?......................

Not at all. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Oh last thing but not least: they can be driven very easily, super easy load, literally by themselves.

There you go, thanks for reading folks :k701smile::k701smile:
Great review on the apx👍. My thoughts exactly when I first listened to them as well
Feb 16, 2024 at 6:55 AM Post #81,461 of 86,783
I'm a 2-Digit income guy and still foolishly bought STORM and Annihilator 23 Ti :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I don't care, I'm broke but happy at the very least :sunglasses:
I want to be like you my friend.
Feb 16, 2024 at 6:56 AM Post #81,462 of 86,783
Feb 16, 2024 at 7:41 AM Post #81,463 of 86,783
An excellent foil to the EXT ... shame you can't keep both! They complement each other well.
They really do..EXT has the bombastic subbass & crisp highs while VEX has that luscious mids and smoothness. Not that they are weak in each other’s department.

I just prefer the VEX’s strengths more.
Looking forward to your impressions
Posted them before when I demoed in November:
Feb 16, 2024 at 8:26 AM Post #81,464 of 86,783
Feb 16, 2024 at 9:53 AM Post #81,465 of 86,783
The size of the equipment will always make a difference. As someone said IEMs will always strive to sound like an OTE headphone whilst an OTE headphone will strive to sound like speakers. The Susvara is obviously in a different league to any IEM also you really need a power amp to drive the headphone to get the best from it.
I normally go the 2 extremes; either very portable with the IEM and DAP or go Speakers and stack systems since you are already confined to listen indoors so go big.
I respectfully disagree with the bias, present in all walks of audiophilia, that bigger is better. It's akin to more expensive is better. First off, it's not clear what is meant by bigger. Are you talking the physical size of the transducers? Wattage of the amps? I heard a number of two-channel systems in my prime as a two-channel guy that topped $1 million with some of the physically largest speakers available, all the way from 4-way vintage horns to TOTL Wilsons and I humbly submit that my experience just yesterday listening to my Timsok TS-316s through my RU7 was more resolving and emotional and pinpoint accurate and thunderous and all-enveloping than I ever heard a room, even a treated one in private studio. I also don't think IEMs are necessarily striving to sound like headphones and headphones like speakers. They each bring different technicalities and listening experiences to the table. I am not trying to be disagreeable but I have learned over 30 years in the hobby that some of these "truths" we trade are not always true. Bigger is not always better. More expensive is certainly not always better. And better specs don't necessarily sound better, etc.

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