UE-10 PRO or SOFT 2x
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hms624

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I haven't posted much, but i used this site for research purposes before buying my E5c from Shure. I love them and couldn't be happier. However, with Lindrone switching to the Prophonics and Welly Wu to the Ultimate Ears, I am becoming very curious if there is another plateau I haven't experienced. I am not really interested in amps, headphones or home listening. I prefer speakers for those applications. However, on the go, my headphones are invaluable, and I use them constantly with my 3G iPod. I like to keep the size of the electronics I carry down to a minimum, thus I am actually solely interested in canalphones. I know that not many people here have one of these phones, let alone both, but I was just wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction for researching the strengths and weaknesses of the two aforementioned buds. Any comments, or knowledge gained while researching the purchase of the two types of canalphones, or gained inadvertantly would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance, and I look forward to many varied comments and recommendations.

As an afterthought, I know that I will probably never reach the ful potential of the earphones with only an iPod. Nevertheless, I still would like to spend money in one lump sum, and not have to worry about upgrading for a long time. In other words, maximize the quality of the headphones now in order for enjoyment in the present as well as posssibility for continual use into the future when portable sources may improve, or I may become interested in home listening and amplifiers.

Thanks again.
HS
 
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toaster

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wow, here we go...


you just answered your own question:

you know nobody has both of them.

not only that, but you know ONLY lindrone has the prophonics, and ONLY welly has the ue's. due to the personalized fits, even if one of them were willing to trade with the other, neither could try the other's earphones.

the shures are unbelievable. they are everything i could ever want in a canalphone with my ipod for portability.

Consider this - the e5c's are the most expensive and undeniably best consumer canalphone which exists. This is true, based on the notion that we get what we pay for, which really seems to be true for the most part.

The Sensaphonics are used by an incredible number of musicians. They are not geared for consumers, however consumers sometimes buy them. Check this client list:

http://www.sensaphonics.com/clientlist.html

Pretty impressive to say the least. hardly a "consumer" product.

The Ultimate Ears are the same way. Used by many musicians but owned by nary a consumer, welly wu excluded.


I think the bottom line is this, and it must be addressed now because some regular people are starting to buy some of these obscenely expensive (and good) canalphones.

People, myself included, are not going to want to readily admit that something better exists. but the truth is, they do. However, while the sensas and the ue's will potentially be available to consumers here at headfi, they are by no means a consumer product. i do not think it should be ignored just how good the shure e5's are, even if the sensas and ue's are marginally better, and i do not believe there is room for anything beyond marginally better, i really do not. as far as i am concerned, the shure e5's are the first step on the staircase of perfection and the best consumer canalphone that money can buy.

You said -

"In other words, maximize the quality of the headphones now in order for enjoyment in the present as well as posssibility for continual use into the future when portable sources may improve, or I may become interested in home listening and amplifiers."

I was thinking about that too, and it is beginning to dawn on me, that when i ask myself those questions, i also have to ask myself, "does this require me to factor in someone else's views in my decision?"

if you want to let curiosity get the best of you, then plop down the money for the sensaphonics or the ultimate ears. they'll be better, but will it really be worth it to you when you realize you made this purchase, not because you wanted to, but because you only thought you did?

it's your call...
 
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lindrone

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You can try to sort through all the information here and try to decide for yourself...

From my original correspondence with Ultimate Ears:

Quote:

I just saw the UE-10 Pro on your site, and it's very, very tempting. Can you explain to me the difference between the UE-10 Pro and the UE-7 Pro? Both has rated at 20hz to 16k, but the UE-10 Pro is claimed the first "true" utilitization of this frequency?

The difference between the UE-7 and the UE-10 is that the 20hz to 16k is + or - 3db on the UE-10, The UE-7 is roughly the same + or - 3db out to 10k then the earpiece rolls off to about -8db @ 16k. If you look at the charts on the website the UE-7 has 2 graphs, one has no high boost and the other has a high boost on
in the in-ear belt pack. Before the UE-10 we relied on the high boost in the hardware (for live use) because the ears had the roll off.
If you look at all of the graphs for the pro line I leave a bit of a high mid peak in the frequency response. This helps in a live environment, adds a little growl to the
mix, vocals cut through better. The Ultimate Ears UE-5c, UE-10 and the UE-Hybrid are the only earpieces on the market that go out to 16k. Ask any other manufacturer to show you a frequency chart, Shure included and they will decline.

The two best sounding pieces for mastered music is the UE-5c and the UE-Hybrid, If you look at the graph on the UE-5c the mids are flat, very accurate the UE-5c goes out to 16k + or - 3db with out a high roll off. The UE-Hybrid has the same high and mid response but has a high powered speaker on the lows instead of an armature.

The UE-Hybrid has a bigger bass response tuned into it. The UE-10 has a very accurate low response, not much of a bass boost. The reason for this is when a performer is on stage the sub bass from the PA is omni directional and you don't need a lot of bottom end at the ear it actually masks the mids and highs on
a loud rock show. The UE-5c also has a nice bass boost, because the mid has been reduced. There will be a new graph shortly for the UE-Hybrid, the mids will
be as accurate as the UE-5c, I am putting the finishing touches on the production crossover. The chart on the web site is of a prototype.


How long does the material of the earphone last? Do they wear down, or change in rigidity over time? If so, is there a way to replace the casing easily and cheaply? Can you change the casing to fit another ear in case this earphone gets passed from one person to the next?

We have clients that still use our original designs which are now nearly nine years old. The older pieces are made of a hard acrylic material. Our newer models are made of a UV-material. This is not silicone. Silicone is too soft for this application. It allows too much flex which results in an unacceptable amount of internal failures. They will not wear down over time. We have offered our "full-soft" material for several years and it has held up very well. I would mislead you if I said it will last as long as the hard materials because we just don't know and we will not know until they have been out in the field for many years. I can assure you that we stand behind our products 150%. For whatever reason our nose and ears continue to change our entire lives. Some people more than others. Weight gain or loss can also effect the fit of an ear monitor. There is no way to replace the casing. It is a solid mold. However, it is possible to make fit adjustments if necessary over time. Material can be added as well as reduced to get the perfect fit. We never re-use components and put them into another mold for many reasons. The components are very delicate. Over-handling is high risk and will lead to failures. Other companies may offer to do this, we are not one of them.



Here's what I thought at the time after receiving these replies:

Quote:

So even though the UE-10 Pro seems like the highest end of all their earphones, it may not necessarily the best sounding for recorded music. It seems like the triple-driver is used for a truer flat response rather than a more "entertaining" response.

If the goal is to have a truer monitoring earphone, I think UE-10 Pro is the ticket. However, it sounds like if you enjoy the "Fun" you get with the Shure E5c, it may not necessarily be that much of an improvement response wise. Although it'll probably have better clarity and resolution.

Of course, all above is speculation. I'm talking with my audiologist to what the best fitting solution is for myself. Which is to get a custom molded earphone that's in the same vein as the E5, without giving up the sound signature that I really love about it.



Here's where I made my decision

Quote:

I've decided to go with the ProPhonic 2X-S, because of several reasons.

#1: People that I've talked with (my audiologist, other musicians referred through her) has mostly all used ProPhonic 2X-S, some of them have tried the UE and stopped using them. Most people didn't think UE-7 (the 10 was just out, so no one has tried those) is significantly "better" in any way, just different. The triple driver design really is supposed to give them a flatter, more accurate response (certainly not for bassheads), but most of them can't tell the difference. One person said he could tell the difference if he cranks it up really high, to the point where he's about to blow his ears out anyway.

#2: The "full-soft" material that UE employs is a soft acrylic. Which ages over time and turns yellow, hardens slightly. They are not nearly as soft as the material that Sensaphonic uses. Although I've heard as well that Sensaphonic harden over time a bit, but the soft acrylic is already harder to begin with. Some people who used the UE stopped using them simply because of discomfort issues.

I have the Sensaphonic molding for my E5, so I know what that feels like. I can't imagine having anything harder than that in my ear.. they are so soft and comfortable, I just can't deal with anything less than that.

In the end, it doesn't matter if it does sound better in some way or another, if i can't keep it in my ear for more than half a hour at at time. So Sensaphonic it is..



My audiologist had several clients that came to her because their Ultimate Ear had fitting problems after about a year. Soft acrylic casing shrink over time naturally, sometimes they get this nasty yellow color, and sometimes the shrinking causes them to crack. A lot of clients that saw the ProPhonic 2X-S, and thought Ultimate Ears used the same material. They don't.. so they were really displeased after receiving the product.

A few more musician friends of my audiologist had gotten the UE-10 Pro, and sound quality aside (they can't tell the difference, given the situation and the equipment, I don't know how much of a difference it makes.. however, I'm sure it is at least somewhat competitive with iPod's headphone output, eh?).. the comfort still went with Sensaphonics hands down.

She had several clients going from Ultimate Ears back to Sensaphonics, but never had a client go the other way, from Sensaphonics to Ultimate Ears.

So ultimately (no pun intended) that's what I went with and why. Unfortunately I have no desire to get Ultimate Ears due to comfort issues.. so I'll never compare those two head to head.
 
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hms624

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Lindrone and toaster22, thank you for the very quick responses. I was seriously considering the Ultimate Ears to be my first choice, but after reading your post, Lindrone, I am reconsidering.

As for you toaster, i understand that I will probably be going above and beyond what most consumers consider the best of the best. However, honestly, consumers are generally defined by companies as hordes of people who are superficially interested in many products. In this case, I am not interested in the best product marketed toward consumers. I am interested in the best product. Period. Whether or not I was the targeted audience for the marketing department is insubstantial. I was drawn in by the people persuing excellence beyond what is normally sought. Fanatics if you will.


Therefore, to answer your question, I am willing to take that plunge. Considering this will be my only significant headphone purchase, I all the more willing to spend a substantial amount of money on one product in order to acheive the best quality. I hope that answered your question, and I continue to look forward to more information.

Thanks again,
HS
 
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toaster

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believe me the er4's and e5s are far above what most consumers consider the best of the best. - to most consumers it's some sony headphones, i guarantee you. and don't forget, musicians are a targeted demographic for ue and sensaphonic products and as a matter of fact, shure products as well. there is no escaping the clutches of big business. but back to the topic at hand...

i say get the sensas. the whole idea of comfort is crucial. the fact that sensaphonics offers the SOFT model of the prophonics, the one that lindrone got (and the one that 50 cent just started using) sounds really nice.

if you feel jipped (using that word very loosely) that your e5's are not better than britney spears' in ear monitors, and you got the dough, i say go for it.

but remember, in a few years, sensaphonics and ultimate ears are gonna come out with new models. make sure your psychological state will be at ease, and you won't feel the need to rush out and get those too.

happy listening. it'd be great to get another e5 -> prophonic opinion.
 
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Welly Wu

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To HMS624:

The only reason why I decided to get the Ultimate Ears UE-10 PRO was due to the fact that they are EXTREMELY ACCURATE in sound reproduction. I am from the camp who believes that tries to stamp out colorations in sound to get an idea of how the performance / recording really sounds. If it sounds great, then I want the least number of colorations getting in the way of musical bliss. If it sounds terrible, then I want to know for sure. So many times, people forget how critically important it is to consider how everything performs together in relation to one another. Before I got my UE-10 PROs, I thought that my "reference system" sounded dead neutral and transparant in conjunction with my ER-4P/S. I thought that I was right but I was wrong. My "reference system" sounds "warm and dark" when I play Red Book CDs due to the Legato PRO / HiBit options enabled within my Pioneer Elite DV-59AVi and my Emmeline HR-2 (AD797 op-amps). However, it sounds more neutral and transparant when I play DVD-Audio / SACD along with DTS discs. If I hadn't gotten the UE-10 PROs, then I would have never figured that out for myself and would be living in a cave.

So, what does this really mean to you? If you got the 3G Apple iPod and you want to hear how incredibly good it can sound, then you should not steer yourself into one direction so early. Keep an open mind. In my opinion, it is far easier to color the sound through the acquisition of other components be it another source, headphone amplifier, or cabling than it is to eliminate colorations of sound from the entire audio chain. I've seen far too many people including myself eventually wean themselves off of the "warm and euphonic" camp to pursue the "neutral, transparant, reference" camp but they have to resell the stuff they bought at a financial loss in order to make the full transition. I do not know whether you know what kind of sound you are looking for because you haven't told us but I am telling you what I have experienced for myself (that has been verified over and over through time) and I am trying to present as many options to you.

Lindrone:

Please refrain from using UE's words against them. I realize that you have had no direct experience with UE nor its' products, but I think it is disingenuous for you to promulgate a biased characterization of the overall comfort reliability of their products based purely on hearsay. Furthermore, I also think it is disheartening to steer HMS624 into one mode of thinking assuming that he or she has little to no experience with earphones of the caliber of the UE-10 PRO or Sensaphonics 2X-S. For these same reasons, you don't see me bashing Sensaphonics nor their 2X-S products, do you?
 
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kcaesthete

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This is a little off topic, but I am using as reference a quote from toaster22 which occured in this thread.

Quote:

Consider this - the e5c's are the most expensive and undeniably best consumer canalphone which exists. This is true, based on the notion that we get what we pay for, which really seems to be true for the most part.


With all due respect, Toaster (whom I can vouch for as a good guy, by the way), it's a little presumptuous of you to make this statement without spending some time with the Ety 4p/s. It is not a foregone conclusion at all that the Shure E5c is superior to the Ety 4p/s. Most people who have tried both agree that they are different, and each person has his/her preference as to which works best for him/her.

I've done a lot of lurking on this site, and Lindrone (who has tried both Ety and Shure, by the way) has been the most vocal proponent of the Shure E5s until Toaster. Lindrone, who is quite articulate and persuasive, has the point of view that the Shure E5 preserves the decay of notes better than the Ety 4, which gives a more natural feel to the music. The end result, to paraphrase him, is a more musical Shure E5 versus a more clinical and analytical Ety 4. Because he makes a persuasive argument, and the fact that he has made it multiple times, it has sort of become the unofficial "word on the street" around these parts. When i was deciding which canalphones to buy, I read post after post of Shure versus Ety. It seemed that more often than not, whenever I read a post which claimed superiority of the Shure to the Ety, I could glance over and see Lindrone's avatar:) In no way am I saying that Lindrone was not justified in having this opinion, or that he shouldn't be able to express it. I'm just saying that his is not the only take on Ety vs. Shure.

Nonetheless, there may be many on the board who have tried both of the aforementioned canalphones who do not feel that anything is missing in the Etys, and that perhaps the Shure's are providing coloration to the sound in some manner (euphonic coloration, to be sure).

There's a reason that not every loudspeaker is designed to sound like a studio monitor. Many people prefer coloration to unforgiving accuracy and detail.

I've read a number of posts on this board of people who have purchased ety's, "upgraded" to E5's, and then gone back to Ety's because they found the sound to be superior on the Ety side (or perhaps they just were used to the signature ety sound).

I personally would like to add the Shure E5 to my collection of phones (for the low end enhancement) down the road - hopefully the price will drop somewhat. For some music types, I'd use the Ety and for others, the shure.

Please don't take this as a Shure bashing post. It is definitely not. My whole point is this: For relatively new users who read Toaster22's rave reviews of the Shure E5c, please realize that many people are equally passionate about their Ety 4's. You cannot necessarily assume that the E5 is the best consumer canalphone out there without trying the Ety 4 too.

Thanks for your time.
 
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lindrone

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Quote:

I *have* in fact seen the UE-10 Pro's "soft acrylic" material, and I've said over and over again, that I do not know what the sonic signature diffferences are other than other's opinion.

I can say this for absolute certainty, UE-10 Pro's soft acrylic is much harder than Sensaphonic's material. If it is the same as the UE-7's soft acrylic (I don't think they came up with a new material, all the "full soft" materials out there is this same type soft acrylic), I've seen some yellowing and cracking.

In all fairness, Welly, I mentioned this in your original thread when you were going to save up for UE.. so it was a fair warning and consideration.


 
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iamdone

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Quote:

Originally posted by kcaesthete
For relatively new users who read Toaster22's rave reviews of the Shure E5c, please realize that many people are equally passionate about their Ety 4's. You cannot necessarily assume that the E5 is the best consumer canalphone out there without trying the Ety 4 too.

Thanks for your time.


I am testing both at the moment and I currently think the etys sound much better. The difference between toaster22 raves and lindrone's, is lindrone actually heard both headphones and made his opinions know. Toaster22 is trying to compare two headphones without hearing both. I've met lindrone and respect his opinions on the shures but am having a difficult time trying to come to the same conclusion. It could be anything from the type of music he listens to or just a matter of preference and personal taste (the way food can taste great to one person but horrible to another).

So even if one reviewer does hear both of these headphones mentioned in the title, keep in mind that you still may not agree with them. I think you need to look at the whole picture and see what other headphone they prefer, their music selection, and their setup.

You also have make sure that these headphone are not just geared for stage monitors which may not be the best for just listening to music the way you do with regular headphones.
 
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hms624

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I don't agree with toaster22. Whereas he says that he can say that his E5c are better than the Sensaphonics even though he has not heard both, he is simply wrong. One can not make a blanket statement about the superiority of a certain product with absolutely no experience with that product.

For example, although Lindrone is viewed as a Shure fanatic, his ideas are based upon rigerous testing and comparisons with other products. In the past, it has been the E5c and many other canalphones. In each case he offers an analysis of the two products and then his reason for choosing the one he prefers. Basically, A has x characteristics, while B has y characteristics. I like x better than y, therefore I prefer A to B. It is a logical syllogism. One recent case is the Ety ER-4. Lindrone has claimed that the Etymotics are analytical while the Shures are musical. He likes fun musical headphones more than analytical headphones so he prefers the Shures.

Therefore, although he seems dogmatic and fanatical when it comes to his headphones, he has legitimate support for his preferences and has tested many different products to arrive at his conclusion. Toaster, you assume that you can take over as the resident Shureaholic, but if you want people to listen to you as they do Lindrone without simply disregarding your posts as the messages of someone trying to justify his purchase, then you need to do much more testing and comparison with other products.

This brings me to my next point: justifying purchases. Many people seem to simply defend their choice headphones as the best because of the amount of money that they cost. As soon as someone begins to claim any faults they are immediately attacked and bashed because it is "only their opinion, not fact." Opinions are inherent to any reviews on this site. That is not a legitimate basis of attack. Therefore, many people disregared posts or reviews which contain attacks against individuals as soon as said individual questions the "perfection" of the reviewed product.

Lindrone does not strike me as one of those people, because of his willingness to spend more money when he realized that there were better products than the Shures. However, other people seem more than ready to attack people when certain products are examined clinically, instead of unconditionally praised. This is simply not helpful.

That said, at this level of canalphones, the sound nears perfection. However, headphones still have flaws. Thus when one flaw is pointed out, it may seem larger than it actually is, simply because it is the only defect. Additionally, the quality of the headphones is known, but the specific strengths and weaknesses need to be pointed out. For example, both the ER-4 and the E5c are the top-of-the-line consumer headphones. However, they both have strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, instead of defending headphones which everyone knows are amazing, it would be much more constructive to point out specific details about these rediculously expensive "earbuds."

That is essentially what Lindrone has been saying. He does not have the necessary information to test the sound signature of the Ultimate Ears, but he does have the experience with the materials the company uses. In his experience, this is not as good as the material Sensaphonics uses. Alternate opinions from people who also have this type of experience would be helpful, instead of gut reactions when someone thinks their money has been misused.

I don't mean to insult anyone, and although it seems that I was actually paid by Lindrone to write this (with all of the positive comments he is recieving,) I am just trying to redirect this thread. It seems as though it has devolved into personal attacks on reviewing methods and motives instead of actual constructive comments about the headphones. I am guilty of this as well--in fact that is what this whole post is about. However, I do not mean to seem conceited or obnoxious, I just want the thread--as well as the many other threads where this seems to happen--to return to its original purpose.

Thank you, and sorry if this post is inappropriate.
HS
 
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toaster

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i have not taken any offense to anything that has been said here. speaking this way just goes to show how dedicated we all are to are audio equipment, which is sort of a good thing. i just would like to clarify a few things that have been said here:

kcaesthete - it is true that i have not heard the etys. i never said i have or claimed to have. Lindrone did say in that great write-up that the e5's were "undeniably" the king of canalphones. i could quote it, but i will have to ask you to trust me here and you might remember he said it as well. Yes, he did the comparison. but i have never said i like my e5's better than the etys because i have heard both and i like the e5's better. with me, it's always been, wow these e5's are unfrigginbelievable. and to me, they are.

where you quoted me about saying the e5's are the best, i backed it right up with the "you get what you pay for" idea. Now, this is not a science, but i was thinking about it today, and it truly does offer a "backbone" if you will to our rationale. And it is generally true for the most part. If you pay 200 dollars, you get a 200 dollar piece of audio equipment. if you pay 500, you get a 500 dollar piece of equipment. If you pay 900 dollars, well, you get the idea. the shure e5c's retail for 500 dollars, while the ety's for 330. Now despite these absolute prices, the preferences among buyers is not absolute by any means. it is very possible that someone may think a 200 dollar phone sounds better than a 500 dollar phone, but this will not negate that one is a superior piece of audio equipment, as it should be for the price. What i think is most important, is the idea of "getting what we pay for" really should be an accepted notion in this forum, because it really is the only way we can all ever be roughly on the same page at once.

as for hms - i would like for you to quote where i said my e5's were better than the sensaphonics. i did make a JOKE to lindrone about it, but that was clear in that single post i made. i do not lie, plain and simple. that you said that, urked me a bit and i don't want people to think that's how i do things, cause i am still new here and i don't want to come across as an ass.

Also, as i just said before, i never made a comparison of the ety and the shures. the only time i mentioned one being better was with from the "price standpoint." Do i find it hard to believe that i would like the er4's better? yes. Do i find it hard to believe i would like any canalphone more expensive than the E5's better? yes. But that's cause i have an idea of what i am looking for. I admit i have found everything i was looking for in the e5's. The fact that i have never heard the etys should not make that statement any less reputable. and yet i feel that the fact i have not done a direct comparison with the etys has left some people feeling that my joy experienced with the e5's is not sincere. that's just disrespect.

Yes lindrone wrote a great review comparing the etys and shures, but i don't have the etys and the shures and all the equipment he has. I am a 19 year old college student. when i am 25 like him, i'll have all that stuff but for now, although i cannot offer a detailed review with the best equipment, i can write a very informative and detailed view of my impressions, just as i said. And quite frankly, my initial impressions of the e5's were shocking. These things "blew me away" - as lindrone said. Too my ears they are amazing. And i still feel this way.

Also, i have been brutally honest in some of my recent posts about my own feelings towards all this chaos that goes on here. I have totally opened up about some of my feelings, which is probably more than you guys care to read about. But nonetheless, it was really all for the sake of coping with the commercial audio world. it's hard to keep up. but once you find something great i believe it is important to acknowledge it. i think too many people here seem to overlook how good things they have already are.

with all the flak i am taking, i am really considering (yes i just got word that hell has frozen over) just freaking getting a pair of etys so i can write a review without being told that my personal and ecstacy-filled experience with the e5c's alone is not enough. - which is crap.

we all really have to respect each others views. whatever someone says, if you don't like it, you don't gotta listen. but i don't think too many people here really mean to do any harm. i know i don't.
 
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hms624

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Josh, I did not mean to personally attack you. I apologize if it appeared that way. I do not think my comments will ruin your reputation. I am also new here, and with my recent posts, I am probably looked at as a pretentious prick. Now that this is all cleared up, we can resume discussion of the ear phones, and move away from this faux debate about the motives of us warring posters.

Sorry once again,
HS
 
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no you're not a prick. and i appreciate the apology. we just take things so seriously here, that sometimes they get out of hand.
 
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Just to point out the price difference with the etys and the shures, is the shures are using dual-drivers so they should cost twice as much. I also think that the dual-driver is a good idea and seems to work well at bringing out the lower frequencies much better than the etys. The problem I have is either etys are using a better driver or the shures are not just not set to go up a certain frequency.

So if the ety's came out with the dual-driver headphone I would try it. I would at least like a headphone that I could resell and also let my friends listen to.

So price doesn't always equal better. If you start looking at amps you'll see that a lot of DIY amps are a lot cheaper and just as good as their commercial counterparts.
 
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it doesn't necessarily equal better enjoyment, (which i made sure to say, because i agree) but it does usually equal a "better made" product.

that brushed aluminum box with the e5c's is sweet, but welly wu's got his initials in his ue's. simple example that kinda says it all.

i'm just trying to find us all some common ground here.
 
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