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Vision Ears and Rhines Custom Monitors (formerly Compact Monitors)

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  1. hilosxdd
    Nice ! Are they just promoting their products there or these can also be purchased ? :)

    As for the Stage 3's bass , you said enough , but when it needs extension , is it able to extend deeply ? Deep bass is really nice :D
  2. Ultrazino
    They gave a discount, actually. I did get my ear molds done but I didn't place an order. I have some other expenses to cover up in the next three weeks. My first custom would work well for a Christmas present, though.
  3. hilosxdd
    Hmm your post . How much was the discount though ? Free ear molds ? :xf_eek:
  4. lee730
    Are they storing your ear molds for you? If not you have about a month before your ear molds will start to degrade. They become pretty much useless at 3 months. But by 1 month they start degrading and that alone could cause fit issues.
  5. lieberstanley
    Hi, fellows. I am a new comer here. I am posting my first sharing out of the love for Stage 4.

    To begin with, my waiting time from mailing out the ear impressions to receiving my Stage 4 is approx. 3 weeks. From Vision Ears, if you're wondering. I think that pretty much proves VE's determination of shortening substantially the whole process. Nevertheless, I can't guarantee it's going to become a common practice from VE, for my situation is a little bit complicated since I am the first owner of VE's product in my country. So, maybe my order was treated with certain curtesy.

    The build quality and fitting are excellent. No complaint at all. The cable is soft and does not tangle or pick up noise easily. Most importantly, the IEMs are tuned using the cable. I would rather not run the risk to lose the sound signature by experimenting new "upgrade" cables.

    Before I made up my mind purchasing Stage 4, I auditioned four pairs of demos. They are Merlin and Miracle from Unique Melody, and Stage 3 and Stage 4 from the Compact Monitors (my dealer didn't have VE's demos by then).

    Frankly speaking, Merlin and Stage 3 did not impress me to much. It's not saying they weren't good enough, it's just their higher models surpassed them with noticeable improvement (or difference if you put in this way).

    Miracle and Stage 4 remind me very much of my own stereo system, which is consisted of Olive 4HD-->Berkeley Audio Design DAC-->Pathos Classic One MK2-->Acapella Fidelio MK2. They are both analytical, revealing, detailed, spacious, and most important of all, they demonstrate the ability to cover the full spectrum of sound. Of them two, the Stage 4 is more musical. Meaning I can listen with the Stage 4 without sensing the elapse of time. On the other hand, the Miracle would make me fatigue in a very short period of time.

    I auditioned the four pairs with Astell and Kerns (iRiver) AK120. When paired with the AK120, the idea of v shape sound had never crossed my mind. Instead, I couldn't agree more on the manufacturer's description of the Stage 4--while maintaining a flat frequency response, or neutral, in other words, VE pushes its both ends, making it perform like a pair of very capable floor stand speakers. And the Stage 3 is, on the contrary, like a pair of well designed shelf speakers.

    The Stage 4's bass simply extends. The sub-bass transits smoothly into lower region, making the foundation of music solid. I didn't found the bass to "bloat". When I was testing the bass performance using the song "Silver Rain" from Marcus Miller's album, featuring Eric Clapton on vocal, the controlled and quality funky bass "balls" simply made this song an enjoyment to listen. The best thing is that the Stage 4's bass did not mask the details. The separation of all instruments, including vocals, were kept to the best standard I've ever experienced with earphones, leading to a relatively spacious and huge soundstage. This feature also makes the Stage 4 capable of reproducing those big and sophisticated recordings like, the the Gladiators or the Cantate Domino.

    The mids are never lean. It's true that the vocals are not presented up-close, yet it's neither distant. The vocals are kept in a proper scale to go along with other instruments. I tested it with Diane Reeve's "Good Night and Good Luck" and Harry Belafonte's famous recording at the Carnegie. The vocals were rendered silky while maintaing the strength.

    The highs extends naturally, portraying effortlessly the textures and the harmonics of the instruments. The Stage 4's violins are rendered as good as those high end stereo systems that I've heard. Joshua Bell's "At Home with Friends" is a pain in the a*s to a lot of systems. However, the Stage 4 + AK120 combo surprised me with the lush and full-bodied violin. The high notes were rendered naturally and never intense. The texture of all the instruments in this recording were so realistically presented.

    One last thing worth noticing is that the Stage 4 is very friendly to the amps. I've tried iPhone 4S or iPad 4 and the results are acceptable. However, if you want to get the best out of the Stage 4, please pair it with some higher quality device. AK120, to take for an example, goes really well with it. The ultra low noise floor makes the details emerge effortlessly. Although AK120's control over Stage 4's bass department is not flawless, yet as a minimal combo, these 2-piece set can really reach a new height.

    I also added FiiO's E12 and RSA's Intruder (SE in and out) into this combo. And that is another story. I will share it another time.

    To sum up. To me, Stage 4 is absolutely a wonderful piece to enjoy. IMO, it's very close to neutral. It pushes both ends and is capable of the full spectrum of sound. It suits almost all kinds of music genre. It is just musical!

    ps. I will update some photos when the function is activated.
  6. Mimouille
    Thanks for this great feedback. They seem interesting indeed.
  7. Ultrazino
    Not sure. I placed the order now anyway. [​IMG]
    Yes, I still got the discount and I am dead happy about it! I will not tell you how much it was, because they made an exception and I don't think it's going to help anybody if Head-Fi users will start asking for discounts. I don't think it would work.
    Ear molds are always free if you're a customer, but on the fair they even did ear molds for other companies (one visitor wanted them done for 1964ears). I got a free ear cleaning first, too. *cough*
    Browsing their gallery, I think I must be only their second customer who actually wants the "rhines" logo as artwork. I will see how it goes. I am not sure about the lead time because I don't want to receive the product before November.
    On the second day of the fair, I did some extensive comparisons with Stage 4. From my sources (FiiO X3 with mostly 24bit studio masters and iPad 2 with AAC), I did not feel like the Stage 4 had an advantage in resolution. But this is just my observation and I am not as experienced with TOTL customs as some of you.
    What I did notice, however, was that with Stage 4 some male vocals sounded a bit too warm. Further, bass was a lot more present and it actually affected the soundstage negatively, for my taste.
    Comparing with Stage 3, bass was omnipresent and also highs were more upfront. Bass and highs of the Stage 4 created a sort of frame of the recording. The Stage 3 sounded more open to me, with more variables in both directions. While the soundstage of Stage 4 managed to be a bit larger at times, I felt like it is also fixed and only the mids change in depth.
    The Stage 3 thus appeared more flexible and closer to the recording.
    This will be my first and hopefully only custom for a few years. I hesitated long enough but I think I did the right choice. Right now, I can't imagine any IEM that suits me better. However, I tend to forget that when I joined Head-Fi I thought the HJE900 is high-end, lol.
    I will post some nice pics in November then. :wink:
  8. Mimouille
    Great ultra, let us know how it goes.
    On other news, we should have several impressions coming. Indeed, Vision ears has accepted to provide me with demos of the Stage 2 / 3 / 4. A few other people on headfi will get to hear the demos (the tour is full so do no ask me - I have to limit the number of participants as I am paying the deposit myself).
    Anyways, I am pretty excited :)
  9. lieberstanley

    Great! Let us know the outcome. Looking forward to it.:wink:
  10. rudi0504

    Very nice impression

    I wish one day I can hear this Stage 4
    Looks like Germany Build Quality and Sound Quality are excellent
    I love Germany audio Product , like my tube pre amp T + A. P 10.2:D
  11. Mimouille
    You know you will hear them soon :)
  12. rudi0504

    I am excited too and very happy
    My dream come true , I can hear my stage 4 in 1 month time maybe :D
  13. rudi0504

    Yes thank you Michael
    You make my dream come true
  14. Mimouille
    The demos of Stage 2/3/4 have shipped...can't wait!
  15. lee730
    That's good to hear. I wonder if it is possible for your X3 to not have jived very well on their Stage 4 model? I know the Fiio is suppose to be a warm sounding player right? A lot of times mismatches can give us false positives. But at the same time what really matters is what you will be using the said IEM with :). Congrats on the purchase. Hope you enjoy it. My experience with CIEMs has been a shaky one. I wish none of the BS I went through on any of you lol :wink:.
    Mython likes this.
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