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Vision Ears and Rhines Custom Monitors (formerly Compact Monitors)

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  1. Mimouille
    yep that's too much...if you have a friend in a non Jaben country, you can pretend you are from that country and buy directly from VE...
  2. precsmo
    Hi all, is really glad to finally see a more active thread on this lovely CIEM brand. I am still glad day by day with my Stage 3, I absolutely love it. I've tested some major brands of CIEM at Jaben Malaysia before I've ever decided on a top end CIEM which I hope to last for me for years without even bothering for an upgrade. I was very surprised that this used to be an unknown brand Compact Monitors Stage 3 which sounded absolutely the best to me, for my preference. I was thoroughly amazed with the frequency response, its clarity, its bass response, bass extension and just about everything on other sound departments, the Stage 3 was the best to my hearing preference. I found the Stage 4 was rather "boomy" and the mid and treble was not lively at all compared to Stage 3. I see a lot praises over the Stage 4 in the web but I couldn't feel it the same way. I would blame on the demo set universal fit with a pure seal? The Stage 3 was also compared along with the JHAudio JH13, JH16, Fitear Togo 334, ACS, UM Miracle and a few others that I can't remember the brands. I did not personally prefer the JH as those sounded harsh to me in some ways. I absolutely loved the Fitear, but it is way too expensive for me. And again, I was amazed by the Stage 3 and I took a huge step and went for it!
    It was just right in the period when Compact Monitors split into 2 and my order was under Vision Ears. I'm not so sure with Rhines, but I love the quality and services from Vision Ears, I'm at least glad to report that I'm a happy customer with them!
    The very 1st time when I've received the Stage 3, I was overjoyed that the fit was spot on. And I couldn't be able to think more of how stunning the workmanship was at my 1st glance. The shells looked more like the acrylic which has not cured yet and is liquid shine. I'm also happy to see that all the parts were all sealed up in the acrylic, I believe this is very important as the acrylic will protect all the tiny parts properly. But I wish that they even completely seal off the whole shell within with acrylic like how FitEar does.
  3. precsmo

    I fully agree with the impressions u have given over the JH16 against the stage 3 and stage 4. In fact, I find that jh16 and jh13 have very harsh and artificial treble to my ears. If it wasn't the harsh treble, I would have gone for jh16, I love the bass response. It is just so different from the others. Though I personally find the Stage 3 is best sounding to my ears. And not sure why the stage 4 gave me a bad impression that it has too much bass, bass that not well controlled as the stage 3 does, also, I find the mid and high from the stage 4 is overly dull. I totally can't get the same experience as everyone describes of how amazing the stage 4 is. I'm suspecting it is all due to the poor universal fit that did not work well at all for me at that time. However, the stage 3 was just so lively, so impressive that it was how I choose the stage 3. I've not regret and I'm still super impressed with it!
  4. Ultrazino
    Hi precsmo,
    I am happy to read your comments!
    I was a bit worried because I did not have the chance to audition the JH13 and from what people write it should probably suit me well too.
    However, now that I think of it, many users on hifi-forum prefer the Stage 3 over JH13. Could be a price or time issue (US vs German product), though.
    Anyway, I hope I won't need an upgrade for a few years once I receive my customs from Rhines early November.
  5. precsmo

    I still feel sceptical if the testing of these CIEMs with demo universal tips is reliable at all? I didn't like the jh13 at all too. I couldn't get the impression of how everyone commented with the jh13 nor the Jh16. Both just didn't sound natural to me at all. The JH13 was just way too bright and harsh for me. I'm suspecting whether it was due to the improper seals from the universal tips? I didn't like the Stage 4 too. I had the budget to go for it but the sound was just way too different to the Stage 3 which was strange to me too. I couldn't get the impression too with stage 4 of how everyone commented it as amazing? It was too bass heavy to me with the dull mid and high, was it due to the poor seal too? But somehow, the stage 3 demo sounded way closer to my final finished product. I was just so impressed with it, same to the Fitear Togo 334. I love the 334 the most actually. However, it was way out of my budget especially the custom 334, it has a insane price to me! :D
  6. rawrster
    Demos are a hit or miss. It can give an idea of the signature but not much else but if fit is off all bets are off. 
  7. tranhieu

    There won't be any bass (let alone being bassy) if the seal is off, so rest assured.
  8. Ultrazino
    Rhines Custom has many different demos. Some still from Compact Monitors, some in the smallest universal shell they could fit them in (looks like a small bullet) and some new ones.
    They can tone down the bass of Stage 4 if you want, though, and they also have a demo of the Stage 4 with not as excessive bass (so a custom custom Stage 4). I preferred that one over the normal Stage 4 but ultimately still enjoyed Stage 3 the most.
  9. precsmo
    Probably I have listening preference more like you do :)
  10. lieberstanley
    I like to congratulate Precsmo on finding the true love (the Stage 3) on his present journey of music. No matter how people comment on the differences of all those headphones on the market, the one that moves you the most is the best one for sure.

    As I am typing this reply, I am listening to the VE's Stage 3 demo. I borrowed it again from the local dealer just want to consolidate my initial impression with the Stage 3.

    My conclusion is, excluding other variables, personal sound preference plays the most important role in the selection between the Stage 3 and 4. Like Mimouille, the Stage 3 just doesn't sound engaging to me. It's definitely neutral and balanced, yet I don't find it fit my taste of sound.

    Just like mentioned earlier, before I bought the Stage 4 , I mainly liesten to the music using my stereo set. Thus my sound preference has been greatly influenced by the main stream audiophile community. The audiophiles are seeking for systems that are capable of reproducing the full spectrum (which means real low bass down to 40-30 Hz with little roll off) in a balanced way, of wide dynamic range, with 3d like soundstage, while still giving great amount of details. To me, the Stage 4 is just competent in achieving the above criteria.

    From my second observation, compared with the Stage 4, the 3 has good bass response, yet not extends deep. Therefore, to me some songs would appear a bit not "feet on the ground" enough) The mids (vocals) are brought a bit forward and with good density. The highs are brighter. The details are not given coherent enough (means I know they're there, but I can't hear how do they interact with the recording environment). The sound stage is relatively narrower. The note weight is lighter. Please note, however, the Stage 3 is just a demo set.

    If I have to chose again between the 2, I would definitely go to the Stage 4 again.

    So that's why I say it's the personal sound preference. Unless we all sit together, using the same gear, same files to audition, or we never really are on the same page.

    By the way, Mimouille, I just auditioned HM901 with the balanced and IEM cards. In short, go and get the IEM card. It's an overall improvement when paired with these low impedance IEMs. The only trade off I noticed is that the IEM card sounded not so "open" as the balanced one. By saying "open", I mean as open as listen to the real speakers, which, compared with the IEM card, is the only advantage of the balanced card.

    HM901 has a very analogue feel to it. Very loose and natural. However, the balanced card makes the Stage 4 too "loose" in every aspect. The IEM card makes everything "focused" again.

    To me, the HM901 with IEM card > AK120 > HM901 with balanced card, when paired with the Stage 4. Leave the balanced card to the high impedance headphones.
  11. Mimouille
    Hey Lieber that is really interesting...I have considered the iem and minibox card but the thing stopping me is I just got a balanced cable. And I think 901 with balanced card beats the crap out of ak120. The thing is my main ciem has 135ohms of impedance....so could you tell me more in detail, but on the 901 thread, why iem is better? Have you tried minibox?
  12. lieberstanley

    Sure, will do. Maybe tomorrow. I think I'll PM you. Last question is that when you were choosing between the AK120 and HM901, which iem you were using?
  13. precsmo

    Thanks lieberstanley :). Trust me, the Stage 3 has great extension of deep bass, great great of it with good audio player, good external amp and a good upgrade cable. Also, the final custom product improves with sound quite a lot more to the universal demo fit especially in the bass department. I've tested quite a few custom cables in China, some relatively expensive, very expensive actually, and some more affordable. The one I bought was about USD100 which amongst the cheapest. I was shocking that how sensitive CIEM and how revealing CIEM can be, they change sound to very slight change of sources and cable of material. I was really impressed with the upgrade cable I got. I've never believe a CIEM could have such a full frequency response, so dynamic, so fast from such tiny drivers all in the ears. In fact, I've hardly hear any high end hifi (probably never being setup to its maximum) can reproduce such broad bass frequency that extend so deeply and smoothly. The mid bass is tight, rounded, you can just feel the "thum thum thum" of the bass yet with the low end extension goes all the way smoothly. Which surprise me even further is with how the mid and high are wonderfully separated. The Stage 3 has only 3 drivers, 2 way crossover. It is purely an art of engineering from the Germans and a proof of less drivers does not mean less sound:)

    so far I think the only high numbers multi drivers CIEM that really impress me was the Unique Melody Miracle. But I did not go for it because I didn't have a very good seal from the demo due to the tips the person brought along with the demo set, and the environment was noisy. But I still can feel a really good frequency response from it but with the worriness that I might be wrong from such poor conditions. But it kept impress me at that time being. Further more, there was no local dealer to fully arrange for me with the shipping, ear impression services, local warranty coverage and so on. I've to do it all by myself for ordering the Miracle. But with the Stage 3, I feel like an exclusive customer from Jaben with everything absolutely covered by them :) when comes to such price range of a CIEM, I personally think that this is an important factor of getting the top end investment of CIEM :) It is quite a hard decision when the Stage 3 wasn't cheap, it has only 3 drivers which it should cost cheaper than the suggested price compare to other brands. But it keeps impress me during all the hard tests. I love my Stage 3 day by day :)
  14. lieberstanley
    To Precsmo, thanks for the sharing! Really glad to know that you are squeezing the best out of the Stage 3. Share more with us your set up or experienments with the sources or the cables.
  15. Mimouille
    1plus2, SE5, Miracles and Kaede.
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