The Watercooler -- Impressions, philosophical discussion and general banter. Index on first page. All welcome.
Apr 8, 2024 at 8:01 AM Post #85,831 of 89,872
Let me bother those who have been using Nightjar Singularity. Many people told me that this iem does not need to upgrade the stock cable. So do after-market pure-silver cables costing under $1000 really have no value in improving resolution and enhancing treble energy without negative affecting the excellent bass quality of Singularity compared to stock cable?
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I do prefer a Pure Silver with gold plated, i get more separation and tight bass. Still eartips on the Singularity also does a lot of difference , I´m using the SS20 great sound stage!
 
Apr 8, 2024 at 8:15 AM Post #85,832 of 89,872
Who is making this cable, are you able to share the brand name? Thank you for the post. MA eclipse was a first solid release of the brand, I personally look forward to hearing alter ego.
The Alter Ego was great - definitely an energetic presentation and one of the top highlights and surprises of the show - I wasn't going to listen to any more IEM's but just as I was about to leave I tried this and wasn't disappointed. tbh it's hard to find any issues with it on the first listening session.
I want to listen to 2 IEM's again when less rushed - The Fei Wan and the Alter Ego - both made a HUGE impression on me.
 
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Apr 8, 2024 at 8:23 AM Post #85,833 of 89,872
MA Alter Ego without doubt the IEM I'm most curious about due to both experience with the excellent Eclipse and feedback from Singapore from those who've tried it... I'll be eagerly awaiting more info!
 
Apr 8, 2024 at 8:38 AM Post #85,834 of 89,872
Carry an engineering brick around in a shoulder bag for 6 months or so and any portable dap you buy will seem weightless.

Handy tip for you all :relaxed:
Well, I carried a DMP all around CanJam SG and now the SP3000Cu feels like a lego brick! I can testify that it works!

Great post thanks for sharing. I share your enthusiasm for the OG Pilgrim (haven't heard the Noir yet).

Also, the E7 is not R2R I don't think-- it's AKM, no? (Someone correct me if I'm wrong)

I LOVED the sound of the E7 but imho the user experience still leaves a lot to be desired. And the unit in NYC kept crashing, which was kind of a bad omen.
Loved the Pilgrim. Loved the Pilgrim Noir even more!
The stock module is the AKM4497 chip. Not sure what the other modules will be. It does sound really engaging and in a nice form factor too. Again, after carrying around the DMP (shoutout to @bigbeans for the inspiration), the E7 felt like a toy!

Pretty sure everyone has different expectations of how bass should sound, and therefore I will never "declare" what kind of bass is better, and nobody can. Like, electronic bass sounds very different from acoustic bass, so if the former is your thing then why not? For me acoustic bass prevails though, and it comes with a certain lack of control. Pull back those strings on an acoustic bass, let them go, and you're in for a surprise to how different they can sound when you do it 25 times in a row. Now press a key on a synthesizer 25 times and variability has been reduced to zero. What is better bass? No doubt the latter has much better control, so if that is what you're after then you've found your master. If however you're looking for the former less controlled and more organic kind of experience that results in a slower rise during a dynamic climax and a slower decay with more natural timbre then I find DD is the way to go.

Being a bit of a control freak I always hope to find that one BA IEM that doesn't have "great bass for a BA IEM" but comes with that (outdated?) analog feeling that came with LP records and tapes before the digital age. Some come close, but not close enough just yet. Pretty sure we'll get there some day, but until that day I prefer decay :)

drftr
Congrats on liking the Onyx. As you know, you’re hard to please!

Canjam Singapore Day 2 Impressions:

The day started with some Kaya toast, which is just lovely in its simplicity. First of many pictured below.

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Then I made a beeline to the show floor proceedings. I have been searching for a cable for my Jewel which is subtly but definitively cable-sensitive. Picked up this flash acoustics cable after a LOT of cable-rolling. It’s called the Catalina. Sounds pretty good and a decent price as well.

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Next was the Kinera Loki, which is a pretty impressive effort at a flagship honestly. I expected it to have a fair amount of treble presence and it did, but it was more sparkly than bright. I believe they call it “articulate”. Nice fast textured bass and overall a good clean listen. Will get it in for a review.

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This QoA Adonis prototype (they had two this was the bassier one) was outstanding for $180, which is their expected price point at upcoming launch. Incredible performance for a sub-$200 product. Its a sister brand of Kinera, QoA.

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Ice Labs audio also had two very interesting IEMs, the Prismatic and Prismatic Gold. They were both good IEMs but the Gold was very good and was better across the spectrum with some really high-quality BA bass, a tonally rich midrange, and a well-done treble. Impressive tuning and technicalities were solid for $1800.

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Next I checked out the Noble Audio booth to experience the Onyx. First impressions are positive in that the tonality is spot on, the bass reminds of that fantastic Sultan bass, and overall very pleasant. It was too short a listen to determine how resolving it is for the price, but this is worth a look for Noble fans. The highlight for me and my wife was the incredible full gold and diamond Sultan, still my favorite Noble product.

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They had another Sultan made of stainless steel and black diamond. Have to hand it to Noble for their out of the box choice of materials, aesthetics and finishing. 👏🏻

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I also finally got to try the mythical Rhapsodio Supreme V3. And I loved it. Probably a close to perfect sounding set with incredible bass and holography. Its a single driver design but I was informed that the driver type is neither DD nor BA. The V3 uses a proprietary 12mm Ultramag 5G Magnetostatic (MST) driver. Many may not want to shell out $6400 for a single driver design and I could never argue that this one is worth the price but its truly fantastic and I would buy it if I could get it on a reasonable discount. It has genuine all rounder credentials, given my preferences. Definite show highlight for me.

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While on the topic of unique tech, the Soranik MEMS was also quite enjoyable. What stood out was how much its sound varied depending on whether you were driving it directly from its portable energizer amp or whether the energizer product was connected to a separate amp, a Topping A90 in this case. It was full-bodied and bassy on the energizer and brighter and colder with the A90 in chain. The difference was far from subtle: like listening to two different IEMs. I enjoyed both experiences but I understand some people may have decided that it is bright based on the Topping chain. But it actually has a pretty decent bass shelf.

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I also tried the Nostalgia Audio Tesseract which was decent but probably unremarkable.

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The Elysian Pilgrim Noir, however, was quite impressive for the price. As someone else said, it definitely retains the Elysian house sound but offers a beautiful bass, much better than the Anni’s, in terms of how tactile, “bouncy”, and impactful it sounds. Overall, a very nice IEM. Note that the shell design isn’t final.

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I had a re-listen to the WM1ZM2 + Obsprey PB5 stack and although amps make a small difference to the sound of IEMs (and yes the delta varies between IEMs); for many it may be a decisive difference. I am still trying to decide how much I care about this difference having bought and sold a Tsuranagi paying full price then losing on the sale, so let’s see if I end up buying the PB5. I also listen to IEMs mostly lying down or in the car or at the gym and none of these use cases are conducive to daisy-chaining.

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The purple cable pictured above and below is a total beauty and its called Thanos and its from Flash Acoustics.

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The Mass Kobo 475 continues to be a delight but I probably prefer the PB5 to it for the latter’s richness of presentation and largeness of stage.

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Lastly, I wanted to see how much the Jewel scales on some of the hottest solid state amps in the business: the Mass Kobo 465 and the Zahl HM1. Surprisingly, although the Jewel scales very noticeably on the Hifiman Serenade on my nightstand, it didn’t offer any noticeable increment in performance on either the 465 or the HM1. It sounded rather clinical on the HM1 and overly smooth and rich on the 465, which goes to show how insufficiently synergy is correlated with price.

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Having experienced all the IEMs I wanted to (I couldn’t find the Monachhaa or the Traillii Ti; these two still evade me), I went on to try Sony’s new entry-level headphones, the MDR-MV1. I was so impressed that I immediately bought a pair. What a beautifully studio neutral sound with great bass, a certain width to the stage, and impressive levels of resolution for the price! It’s also so light. Before I bought it I made sure to try it off different sources and it impressed on all of them!

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Of course I spent more time with the best product of Canjam Singapore 2023, the Raal 1995 Immanis. Two of my friends, who are serious summit-fi headphone collectors and enthusiasts immediately placed their orders. After listening to it for the third time today, I am 99% certain that they are a step above in performance from the Susvara or the TC or the X9000.

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While they are unmistakably Raal in their speed, texture, resolution, and airiness; these babies have a very realistic bass impact, a tonally rich midrange, and a certain spookiness to how images just materialize from an inky black void. Everything just seems to flow, with vivid lifelike imaging, and certain cohesiveness that for the first time in 2 years made me miss full-size headphones. These do what no IEMs can. I recently brought in the Susvara and the Utopia and I prefer my IEMs to both. But the Immanis are a different beast. They are probably the best headphones on the market at present.

@Aleksandar R. took a lot of photos with us and here he is, as chill as ever, taking the exceeding praise his headphones received, with humility, calm and a striking normalcy. Kudos, mate.

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The day ended up with some quintessential Singaporean cuisine thanks to the super awesome @Roasty. Thanks for the treat, my friend.

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My beloved wife joined me on day 2 for a tour of the floor and loved the action, the excitement and the collective audiophile passion.

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Thus ended Canjam Singapore for me and although I didn’t make a whole lot of purchases, it was rewarding to see friends, old and new. See you all in 2025. ❤️
I enjoyed the read Sajid! It was good catching up too!

Let me bother those who have been using Nightjar Singularity. Many people told me that this iem does not need to upgrade the stock cable. So do after-market pure-silver cables costing under $1000 really have no value in improving resolution and enhancing treble energy without negative affecting the excellent bass quality of Singularity compared to stock cable?
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I believe they will. Many I know have tried different cables on the Singularity. The Singularity is sensitive to cable rolling so do try different cables to see what works best for you!
 
Apr 8, 2024 at 8:41 AM Post #85,835 of 89,872
The Alter Ego was great - definitely an energetic presentation and one of the top highlights and surprises of the show - I wasn't going to listen to any more IEM's but just as I was about to leave I tried this and wasn't disappointed. tbh it's hard to find any issues with it on the first listening session.
I want to listen to 2 IEM's again when less rushed - The Fei Wan and the Alter Ego - both made a HUGE impression on me.
You should also try the Ruby if you can especially if you like both the Fei Wan and Alter Ego. Hopefully a tour of the Ruby can be arranged soon. It is such a new iem though and the creators were not prepared for how well received they were. Shoutout to @gadgetgod for bringing this to our attention.
 
Apr 8, 2024 at 9:10 AM Post #85,836 of 89,872
You should also try the Ruby if you can especially if you like both the Fei Wan and Alter Ego. Hopefully a tour of the Ruby can be arranged soon. It is such a new iem though and the creators were not prepared for how well received they were. Shoutout to @gadgetgod for bringing this to our attention.
I’m in touch with Travis (Ruby’s co-creator), they are new to the music vendor scene, but in the right head space to know that they need to figure out production capabilities, marketing, and distribution (and in the correct sequence too 😁). I’ve offered to facilitate a tour, so let’s see how it goes. I’ll update when I have substantive news.
 
Apr 8, 2024 at 10:39 AM Post #85,838 of 89,872
The only thing I cant keep my mind open for is Trifecta, which sounds as wonky tuned and low res as it does.

Recently gave it another go, the things popularity remains an enigma for me.

/hide
You don't have to hide, as if we Trifecta enthusiasts have thin skin. BUT some context and detail would take your post from pretty pointless to possibly helpful. Like what chain did you try it with? What type of music? Where did it fall short in its "tuning" for you? What sets do you like and why? This is a place for big boys and girls, we can handle smart, nuanced criticism of a set we own. Give it a try next time and you won't need to hide.
 
Apr 8, 2024 at 10:51 AM Post #85,839 of 89,872
The only thing I cant keep my mind open for is Trifecta, which sounds as wonky tuned and low res as it does.

Recently gave it another go, the things popularity remains an enigma for me.

/hide
Imo trifecta was so dope when I tried it YES it’s a strange tuning but cmon..y’all tripping with the hate imo .. love me some good ol wonk !
 
Apr 8, 2024 at 11:42 AM Post #85,840 of 89,872
Imo trifecta was so dope when I tried it YES it’s a strange tuning but cmon..y’all tripping with the hate imo .. love me some good ol wonk !
🤣
 
Apr 8, 2024 at 11:48 AM Post #85,841 of 89,872
I don’t think there is a need to have a debate (again) about the Trifecta. It is simply a matter of taste; some people love it, others hate it, not that many in between, I guess.

That is simply the way it is. Discussing its merits and flaws (again) will not make a difference.
 
Apr 8, 2024 at 12:05 PM Post #85,843 of 89,872
Canjam SG photos + some impressions. More photos than impressions here so feel free to "unspoiler" those you're keen on. Had an absolute blast but ear fatigue was real and going from summit-fi to cheaper stuff within the span of minutes isn't ideal for testing so take these with many pinches of salt.

Jomo Audio 408H Skyline (2DD 6BA)
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Been a Jomo user for years myself so stopping by to visit Joseph was my first stop. The Skyline has got some sub to mid bassy goodness with the dual DDs nestled in a 3D printed acoustic chamber, topped off with a touch of brightness from upper mids to mid-treble for balance. I've got a CIEM version myself; with a perfect fit, the bass gets even more impactful and highs are tamed slightly to sounding like "neutral with bass boost". Might sound like an overdone signature but Joseph managed to throw in the kind of "musical" and "soulful" mids which I've grown to love from the brand.

Jomo Audio "Neuron" prototype (6BA 2BC)
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Warm and mid-focused as how I perceive Jomo's house sound. The bass isn't as dynamic as my precious Skyline CIEMs but those "soulful" mids are turned up to almost an 11 for myself. This thickness in the mids comes at the expense of sheer resolution but are still pretty darn addictive to my tastes. Tip swapping to shorter stemmed tips increases perception of the bone conduction drivers. Since Joseph already has a set of working impressions from me, I'll be sure to keep an eye out for the official release later this year.

Jomo Audio "Swift" prototype (1DD 1PL 2BC)
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Now I found this one even thicker than the Neuron above, kind of too much for my liking. Surprisingly, it was still able to flesh out adequate details despite the thickness and veil in bass and mids. Not really up my alley but hey, Joseph's lineup is expansive; anyone is bound to find something they're okay with even if they don't necessarily have to like it.

Soranik MEMS-3S (1XMEM 1USOUND 1DD)
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These had decent clarity in mids and highs but lacked bass or any sort of warmth despite being powered by the energizer connected to my DAP. Maybe the showroom wasn't the most ideal environment for auditioning these open backed IEMs. The guys at Soranik recommended using a desktop amp on top of the energizer but that sort of defeated the purpose for me so I passed.

Fitear H1 (2 Magnesium BA?)
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Despite being a mids-highs focused IEM, I was pleasantly surprised being somewhat of a basshead myself. Having no dedicated bass driver means that the mids and highs have to perform really well and it did imo. The mids are forward without sounding thin (adequately thick), so forward it was like having a magnifying glass on midrange vocals and instruments. Highs are prominent and articulate without being shrill, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with these. I suspect that a CIEM version would tame the highs down a notch and the result I imagine would be spectacular.

Nightjar Duality prototype (2DD)
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Tried the stock form without the optional impendence adaptors for extra bass. These have very concentrated sub-bass but not as much mid-bass. I can see how those who come from daily driving the likes of Campfire audio or FIR audio which are hyper mid-upper bassy would find these to seemingly lack the impact. Mids and highs were very pleasant and had a nice "dense" quality to it; they don't try to be thick or sharp. I love that these have the same shell type as the STORM - the shape and use of recessed 2-pin just appeals to me. Super keen to see the final design

Subtonic STORM + 2W Mira Mkii (7BA 2EST)
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To be honest, the regular edition shell prototypes don't look half as bad as I imagined in person. Anyway the faceplate is back to the drawing board again so I'm curious to see the final product eventually. Finally had the chance to give this a proper listen through the Fiio Q7 at the Subtonic booth. If the Fitear H1 offers a magnifying glass over details, the STORM effortlessly fleshes them out and spoonfeeds you the information. Analysing my tracks has never been this fun. With a proper fit using my own set of sednaearfit shorts, I can finally hear those dual SLAM woofers at work. The sheer transparency and resolution with the Q7 kept me engaged beyond my dedicated test tracks. Everything feels so sharpened yet not artificially so. The stock 2W Mira was enough to create a convincing ambience with well recorded live rock performances + crowd noise. Curious to see how the upcoming Tempest/Cloudburst can impress at less than half the price without sounding like a "crippled" version of the STORM.

Symphonium Titan (1DD 2BA)
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These deliver a nice sub-mid bass impact and have unoffensive mids and highs. However I didn't find them particularly spectacular despite doing everything so well on paper. Funny that it literally ticks off all these checkboxes and I wholeheartedly agree with the "bassy, clean, smooth" description. But I just didn't find the overall presentation that engaging. This is probably the closest thing to a "Duality lite"

Symphonium Crimson (4BA)
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Way too sizzly in the upper treble for me, I did try them with my DAP wired to the Mass Kobo 475 but I'd still take the Helios, Titan and even Triton over these.

Campfire Fathom (6BA)
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There was a bit of initial wow factor from the large amount of bass being output from the BA woofers. Not bad but the mids were lacking vibrancy. Any attempt at turning the volume up to enjoy the bass and inject some vibrancy into the mids would be stifled by a peak somewhere in the treble. I did like the shells though, they were one of the more comfy models I wore during the day.

Campfire Cascara (1DD)
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Nice thumpy v shape that isn't shrill in the highs, not even that accurate timbre wise but I would still daily drive these for the fun of it.

Elysian Pilgrim (1DD 3BA)
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Maybe my ears were tired but I found these too anemic for my taste. Not a fan of brighter signatures so I found these to be a bit meh. The shell at the faceplate didn't cause ear discomfort but was unsettling that they were sharp to touch.

Elysian Pilgrim Noir
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A touch more mid-bass than the OG but otherwise the same DNA as the OG, still not up my alley.

FIR Rn6 (1DD 4BA 1EST)
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These are some really nice flagship balanced all rounders. Can't really fault anything. It just isn't as precise as the STORM in delivering microscopic detail but they are still hella enjoyable

FIR e12 (1DD)
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V-shape with a nice bass bump. However treble was bumped up too so I found these too sharp at the same time. Still retains the huge sense of space and stage that we typically find with FIR IEMs.

FIR e10 (1DD)
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What a pleasant surprise, has the same staging and imaging qualities as its older brother but with the over-zealous treble fixed. Bass is turned down a notch from the e12 but not lacking at all. It follows the same vein as the Rn6 with how balanced it is. I hear from Bogdan that the UIEM version is being prepared in this very same red shell but with a different official faceplate. Looking forward to this one!

My highlights were e10, STORM and Jomo's Neuron prototype!
 
Apr 8, 2024 at 12:18 PM Post #85,844 of 89,872
I do prefer a Pure Silver with gold plated, i get more separation and tight bass. Still eartips on the Singularity also does a lot of difference , I´m using the SS20 great sound stage!
Thank you for your attention to my post. How much is your gold-plated silver cable? What is its exact name? Does it improve treble clearly?
 
Apr 8, 2024 at 12:33 PM Post #85,845 of 89,872
I’m in touch with Travis (Ruby’s co-creator), they are new to the music vendor scene, but in the right head space to know that they need to figure out production capabilities, marketing, and distribution (and in the correct sequence too 😁). I’ve offered to facilitate a tour, so let’s see how it goes. I’ll update when I have substantive news.

please feel free to put them in touch with me if they have any general questions I can answer for them.

Ruby sounds interesting and is on my radar now.
 

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